Will Trump’s peace plan for the Israel-Palestine bring peace or war?

Trump’s peace plan is an attempt to fix one of the oldest conflicts in the world today. The Israeli-Palestine conflict is one of the most contentious and ongoing conflicts for territory the world has ever seen. Following the British mandatory of Palestine in 1922, it became the British government’s priority to uphold the Balfour Declaration by establishing the country as the Jewish National Home and in 1948 the state of Israel was created.

A major flashpoint in the conflict and hindering peace negotiations is Jerusalem, with both the Israelis and Palestinians viewing the holy city as their capital due to each group’s strong religious and historical claims to the city. Palestinians have long wanted to establish an independent state in the West Bank; also including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. East Jerusalem, formerly Jordanian-held territory, was occupied by the Israelis during the 1967 Six Day War and annexed in 1980 – a move not recognised by the international community. Subsequently, the Israelis recognise the whole of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.

President Trump recently unveiled his “vision for peace, prosperity and a brighter future for the Israelis and Palestinians”. A key proposal within the plan is creating a Palestinian capital in the suburbs of East Jerusalem. This capital would be beyond Israel’s separation barrier, many Palestinians already live beyond this barrier in underprivileged and deprived areas and must cross checkpoints daily to travel.

Whilst Israeli PM Netanyahu met Trump’s proposal with much enthusiasm, the Palestinians remain extremely hostile towards it. The Palestinians have refused to recognise any proposed Palestinian state that does not have Jerusalem as its capital. Furthermore, they have had a hostile relationship with the Trump administration since Trump formally recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017 and moved the US embassy there.

Netanyahu and Trump both welcome the plan as the “deal of the century”, alas President Abbas views it as the “sham of the century”. This Sunday, the editors will be discussing Trump’s proposals and whether they will be able to finally establish peace in the region.

Trump’s peace plan is a step in the wrong direction – Conservative Article

Firstly, I would like to say I admire Trump for being the first president to follow through with what he has promised, by moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. Regardless of people’s opinions on the controversial president, at least he has kept his promises on this issue. However, Trump’s peace plan is fundamentally flawed. The new Trump peace plan has unfortunately terminated any chance of a two-state solution. Understandably it has also angered the Palestinians even further, as the chance for their own state seems to be diminishing.

I would argue that Trump’s peace plan has destroyed the possibility of peace in Israel even more. It was already a far stretch. Perhaps the biggest issue with Trump’s plan is that it recognises the vast majority of Israeli settlements on occupied territory.  These settlements have long been considered illegal by the international community. They have been one of the main reasons Palestine and Israel haven’t been able to even begin peace negotiations.

Palestinians believe themselves to be indigenous to the West Bank. There are currently 2.16 million Arabs living in the West Bank, compared to just 400,000 Israelis. Despite the vast majority in numbers, the Palestinians are subjected to multiple human rights infringements.

The Israeli settlements have impacted the Palestinians “right to property, equality, and an adequate standard of living and freedom of movement”. By recognising the legitimacy of these troublesome settlements, the USA are encouraging behaviour which could be described as de facto segregation. Trump’s peace plan is turning the Palestinians into second class citizens.

In Trump’s plan, Palestinians will be offered the dismembered archipelago of Bantustands, which is already subservient to the Israeli state. This pathetic piece of compensation will only be offered, once Palestine has proved to the Americans that they are ready for statehood.

Meanwhile, the Israelis will keep all of Jerusalem. They have also been granted their wish to end the Palestinian right to return. This plan may as well have been written by Prime Minister Netanyahu himself.

The EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Moghen has stated her opinions on Trump’s peace plan. She strongly believes that the new American position has “eroded the chances for peace”.

Despite the fact that Trump believes in the workability of a two-state solution, his new plan has meant that the creation of a Palestinian state is far less likely.

Although the possibility of a two-state system working is debatable, what Trump has now introduced has destroyed the possibility of peace in Israel. Trumps “peace” proposal has made the one-state proposal a reality. This will undoubtedly lead to uncertainty and unequal rights for Palestinians.

Perhaps the most dangerous part of this plan is the fact that it may lead to the annexation of Palestinian land. Prime Minister Netanyahu has already stated his desires to increase annexation. With the green light from the USA, there really is no stopping it.

Overall, Trump’s peace plan is a complete step in the wrong direction. It has worsened the already hostile polarisation between the Israelis and Palestinians. It has also destroyed the possibility of any peace negotiations that may happen in the future. Trump needs to consider the rights of the Palestinians, as well as the rights of the Israelis.

Written by Conservative writer, Eleanor Roberts

Point of Information

Unworkability of the two-state solution might be a positive outcome – a Labour Response

I applaud Ms Roberts for recognising the danger of implementing Trump’s vision. However, I am slightly bemused by the first paragraph. I don’t believe that my colleague is correct in praising Trump for following through with his ideas.

My only other point of contention with this otherwise well-informed piece is that a one-state solution needn’t infringe on the rights of Palestinians. Certainly, if Palestinians were not afforded the rights of citizens expected under a democracy, such as voting, there would be a serious violation of human rights.

Upholding a two-state solution still reflects the idea that Israelis and Palestinians need to maintain separate lives and existence. A bi-national state would go the furthest in correcting the historical injustices committed to the Palestinian population.

Trump’s deal may prove to be the impetus needed to show how unfeasible the two-state solution would look like given the extent of settlements beyond the green line.

Written by Labour writer, Jack Walton

Ms Roberts hits the nail on the head – a Liberal response

A problem with an article like this is that it is so vast, it is hard to get everything you want to say across. Although Ms Roberts does miss some vital information, what she ultimately says is true. This plan is going to cause even more divisions between Israel and Palestine.

The human rights abuses that are currently occurring in the West Bank are horrifying, and how they are allowed to continue is ridiculous. Netanyahu’s continuation to be a brute and effectively agree to colonise Palestinian land is also one of the most damaging actions done by any Prime Minister in Israel.

There is not much I can add, other than I think maybe Trump’s deal being effectively the end to the two-state solution is wrong, but not by much. It will take an awfully long time to fix the problems Trump will cause if this goes ahead.

Written by Liberal writer, Max Anderson

The world should stand with the Palestinians and wholeheartedly reject the sham of the century – Labour Article

The word Bantustan skyrocketed into use after the announcement of the Kushner authored, gift-wrapped present to Netanyahu. After the so-called peace plan, it is not hard to see why associations were immediately made to apartheid-era South Africa. Bantustans refer to the apartheid regime’s policy of setting aside territory for black inhabitants of South Africa as part of its system of racial segregation. This comparison needs to be made to the Trump deal.

With no consultation of the Palestinian leadership, and indeed with none even present at the signing, it is no wonder why it has been wholeheartedly rejected by Palestinians. Rather than being a plan for peace, it is the US green-light for Israeli apartheid.

The plan should be understood as an attempt to entrench Israel’s control over the occupied territories and maintain a Jewish majority. This would be achieved by stripping a future Palestine of its territorial contiguity and with Israel maintaining full control over its borders.

In the words of Yitzhak Rabin, this is an entity that is “less than a state”.  If implemented, It would leave Palestinians with only 15% of historic Palestine. To call this plan anything less than an insult is an outrage.

Looking forward, a true map for peace would recognise the daily human rights abuses that Israel subjects to Palestinians to maintain its Jewish majority. From the humiliating restrictions on movement that are faced by Palestinians, to the thousands of permanently disabled citizens of the Gaza strip created by Israeli snipers.  It is this reason why I support a one-state solution with Palestinians granted full rights and a right to return for refugees.

Within Israeli society, the farcical state of its democracy has produced three elections in one year and no clear government. With the recent election, Israeli’s have chosen to hand a demagogue under investigation for three separate bribery charges another victory. This exposes the joke behind the phrase “Jewish and Democratic”. As rather than accepting Palestinian citizens into Israeli society, the reins of power have once again passed to Netanyahu.

A democratic one-state should now be considered the only plausible solution. This is the only plan with any coherence that recognises the humanity of all peoples living between the Mediterranean and Jordan valley. The two-state solution should be laid to rest and recognised as unworkable given the extent of Israeli settlement in the west bank.  This would allow Palestinians their full dignity through living alongside Israelis as equals.

Written by Labour writer, Jack Walton

Point of Information

Suggesting one-state solution is interesting, but doomed to fail – a Liberal response

It must be remembered that a long time ago Palestine was one state, with Jewish and Muslim communities living under British rule. Was there peace and prosperity? Unfortunately, there was only more violence. Maybe if from 1948 onwards a Democratic one-state might have worked, but the divisions are there. The problems will remain. Forcing them together will not work.

The first challenge is who sets up the system? If Trump is handed with the job, we all know an electoral system will be created to favour the Jewish communities. Speaking of elections, the religion that rules will simply be the one with a bigger population. How many countries have ripped themselves apart by these means? African and Middle Eastern countries have destroyed themselves doing this.

And finally, this is not to mention that effectively it is one state at the moment! Nothing would change just by making more democratic. And not only that, the Palestinians and Israelis would never in a million years accept co-existing as equals. Unfortunately, this plan isn’t far off being as bad as Trump’s peace plan.

Written by Liberal writer, Max Anderson

A one-state solution is unviable – a Conservative response

I agree with this article in some senses. However, I believe elements of it have been slightly exaggerated.

For example, although Trump’s peace plan may lead to growing inequality between Palestinians and Israelis, it is a bit of an exaggeration to suggest that Trump has condoned apartheid. If eventually the Palestinians are forced to live under apartheid, it will be because of the Israeli government, not Trump.

Furthermore, I highly doubt that a one-state solution is the only possibility of peace. In fact, the one-state solution is the solution which will most likely lead to apartheid.

A one-state solution would lead to a state with a majority Palestinian population, displacing the Jewish majority. This would cause issues for Israel, as if everyone in that state has equal rights (including the Palestinians), the political power would naturally shift away from the Israeli minority and into the Palestinian majority. Unless the Israelis limit the rights of Palestinians (and create an apartheid state), they would lose control over their own state.

Written by Conservative writer, Eleanor Roberts

‘The deal of the century’ for Israel – Liberal Article

Let’s be honest, the Israel-Palestinian relationship is one of the most hostile in history. Whatever suggestions I make today will probably be completely out of date within five years. Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about the Middle-East. However, even I must put my hands up and admit whatever I suggest would only take minor steps to fix the situation.

The whole landscape can change, and for Trump to stand up and say ‘today, Israel takes a big step towards peace’ when talking about his Israel-Palestine peace plan is laughable. Just like Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry said in 2013, the thoughts of peace are unfeasible at the moment. 

The first thing that needs to be remembered is everyone is in the wrong. That is a bold statement. But, before you worry, the Israelis do have more blood on their hands.

Let’s not forget, this conflict is nearly 100 years old. Jewish Zionists came to Palestine post-WW1 after the British promised the land to both Jews and Muslims. Jewish settlers took the land, creating Jewish only communities, provoking Palestinians. Tension built and Palestinians rioted against Jewish communities.

Jewish communities returned fire in the form of terrorist antics. This includes the bombing on British army HQ at the King Davids Hotel, killing 91 mainly British soldiers. Only now have the tables turned. Except now, Palestinian children throw stones and Israel drops bombs on them. That is an awfully unfair summary, but both sides have each been the oppressor, both sides have both been the freedom fighters. Lest we forget the multiple wars between then and now. Hatred is found on both sides.

So how do we fix this? Remove the hatred. At the moment, Israel is almost solely to blame for this. The reason for most of this is none other than Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Starting life in the military, he decided to enter politics. He has dominated Israel politics since the 1990s, using most of his influence to beat down the Palestinians. Promoting Israeli’s to go and settle in Palestine lands, creating roadblocks for Palestinian citizens, dividing the countries by a wall, and, of course, has been accused of accepting bribes. No wonder he was so happy for Trump to announce this pro-Israel peace deal. The man has a vendetta against Israel. The fact he is still Prime Minister is a miracle.

What needs to happen is to return to a time before Netanyahu. Both sides have to come together and compromise.

The Camp David accords is a perfect example of this. In 2000, a platform was built where Israeli PM Ehud Barak and PLO leader Yasser Arafat came together to agree to a historic peace deal. It was the first sign that there could be peace in the region.

What occurred next? Israeli forces angered Palestinian civilians and negotiations broke down because of members of Israeli government failed to honour their agreement. New Palestinian terrorist groups rose up to take the place of the PLO who had only just abandoned their terrorist ways.

Until the hatred is removed, until some brave men like Arafat and Barak again come to the negotiation table, nothing will happen. Nothing will be fixed. Nothing can be done until this.

Written by Liberal writer, Max Anderson

Point of Information

There is no simple answer – a Conservative response

I completely agree with with this article, there is too much history of resentment for any peace agreement to be successful at the moment. There is no peace plan, whether it be one state, two state, or Trumps plan that will fix the decades of hostility.

Unfortunately, even though “removing the hatred” would be the beginning of peaceful negotiations, the likelihood of this happening is slim. The Palestinians have made it clear that they will refuse to make any sort of negotiations until some compromised are made by the Israelis.

I would argue that American intervention is only worsening the relations between the Palestinians and Israelis, as it is giving them even more to dispute about.

Written by Conservative writer, Eleanor Roberts

Netanyahu needs to go, however not the sole barrier to peace – a Labour response

First of all, I agree with my Liberal colleague on much of what is written here. I share his sentiment that hate needs to be conquered and both sides need to come together and support dialogue.

Much of what is written here, however, runs counter to historical fact. First of all, it is not true that Zionist immigration into Palestine started after WW1. This is a fact that can be disproved by a simple google search that shows the first wave of Aliyah begun in 1882.

Whilst that is not a major point, Mr Anderson neglects to mention that much of the problems of the Israel-Palestine conflict were around long before the Israeli ‘right’ was in charge.

It was, in fact, the centre-left which was the dominant force in Israeli politics up until only recently in Israeli history. It was Labour-Zionist factions who sowed the seeds for much of the contemporary hatred in Israeli society towards Palestinians.

Rather than returning to a time before Netanyahu, I welcome the demise of the centre-left in Israel and see the rise of the Joint-List as a positive step forward.

Written by Labour writer, Jack Walton

Eleanor Roberts
Head of HR & Recruitment at | Website

I’m a third year University of Manchester student, currently studying in Lyon on my Erasmus year (by sheer coincidence I’m writing this hours after parliament has voted to end British involvement in the 30 year programme, so just to be on the safe side I promise not to use the NHS/European Declaration of Human Rights/anything at all anytime soon).

Jack Walton
Labour political writer at | Website

My beliefs in libertarian socialism were adopted gradually. Since a child I was immersed in the language of social justice and liberal politics from my membership of a progressive Jewish youth movement.

Max Anderson
Publisher/ Founder at | Website

I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.

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