Yesterday afternoon, in a bit of constructive counter-programming to the Senate impeachment trial, President Trump unveiled his administration's Middle East peace plan. Flanked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the president delivered a lengthy speech outlining the roadmap, to which both major Israeli leaders have signed on (Israel will hold yet another election in March, as the last two have rendered inconclusive results):
[Trump] said the plan would grant Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas four years to fulfill American conditions necessary for an independent Palestinian state to be recognized, including renouncing terrorism, acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and passing laws to root out corruption and halt the activities of militant groups Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas...Speaking alongside Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Trump said his administration’s 80-page document was the most detailed peace plan ever. No Palestinian officials attended the White House event but the ambassadors of Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates were in attendance.
The Palestinians, who were not part of the plan's development and were not represented at Tuesday's White House event, have "angrily" rejected it out of hand. This is hardly surprising, but I suppose the hope is that they'll recalibrate and come around once they realize how little clout and leverage they have. Overall, the proposal clearly favors Israel (rightly, in my view), but makes significant concessions to the Palestinians -- on land and sovereignty, plus economic incentives. "This is the first time Israel has agreed to a Palestinian State with defined borders," according to an administration fact sheet. Conservative writer Ben Shapiro says the foundation for the plan is realistic:
If the Palestinians accepted these simple truths -- all of which simply amount to the existence of a Jewish state -- they would have a state within months. They will not, and they likely will never do so, because their consistent goal has been Israel's destruction.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 28, 2020
If you're interested in the specifics of the proposal, they're in this document. I applaud Jared Kushner and the administration's efforts here. Peace is a profoundly worthwhile goal. The ideas they've set forth are logical and fair. But here's the most important sentiment I can express about all of this:
Hopeful for peace, but not optimistic. The specifics of the plan are almost immaterial. Until there is functional, non-terrorist Palestinian government with which to negotiate — and which credibly renounces violence & recognizes ???? legitimacy — this is all academic.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 28, 2020
Every president who has attempted to resolve this dispute has failed. Not because they weren't capable diplomats, and not because Israel was unable to make major concessions. The Palestinian leadership -- shambolic and rife with terrorism sympathizers, enablers and terrorists -- has rejected every offer ever presented, even when nearly all of their demands were met. Until that scenario changes, this problem will remain stubbornly intractable. Speaking of which, I'll leave you with this:
Saudis, Egypt, UAE, Oman, Bahrain have all expressed that this plan be a framework for direct negotiations. If this is the position of Arab states, while the Palestinians continue rejectionism, perhaps the rest of the world may finally realize who the obstacle to peace is. https://t.co/9I2G8Clc0p— Zak (@itzhakbendavid) January 29, 2020