The latest revelation of additional details about the forthcoming Trump Middle East Plan should have every friend of Israel deeply worried.
White House envoy Jason Greenblatt told Yediot Ahronot on October 16: “Gaza and the West Bank have been separated for 10 years, not only physically, but politically—between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas…our peace plan intends to bring them together.”
Hamas is an openly genocidal, anti-Semitic regime that carries out acts of war against Israel —from mass border fence crashing to missile attacks— almost every day. How could it possibly be good for Israel to have the Hamas regime “united” with the Palestinian Authority?
Not that the Palestinian Authority is much different from Hamas. It shelters, sponsors, and pays anti-Israel terrorists. And it, too, spews anti-Semitic hate. Have we already forgotten PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s infamous speech on April 30, 2018, which even the left-leaning Anti-Defamation League acknowledged was filled with “anti-Semitic assertions”….? How can it possibly be good for Israel to have the PA strengthened through unity with Hamas and expansion into Gaza?
And take a look at the map. The only way to “unite” Gaza with the PA-controlled territories is by going through Israel. A highway would have to be built which would, in effect, cut Israel in two. How can that be a good thing?
There are a few other things we know about the forthcoming Trump Plan:
—It will likely place some kind of restriction on the right of Jews to live in Judea-Samaria.
In Feb. 9, 2017 interview with Israel Hayom, President Trump said: “The settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements." Presumably his plan will reflect that attitude.
— Israel will have to “pay” for the U.S. recognizing Jerusalem.
On January 2, 2018, the president tweeted: “We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.” Similarly, he told reporters in Davos on January 25: "I helped it because by taking it off the table—that was the toughest issue—and Israel will pay for that. You won one point and you'll give up some points later on in negotiations if it ever takes place.” Presumably the plan will spell out the “payment” that Israel is expected to make.
—Israel will be expected to make “significant compromises.”
In his Israel Hayom interview, President Trump said: “I think that both sides will have to make significant compromises in order for achieving a peace deal to be possible.”
The media reported, on February 20, 2018, that Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt said of the forthcoming Trump Plan that “both sides are going to love some of it, and hate some of it.”
And the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, used almost identical language at a February 22, 2018 speech in Chicago: "The plan won't be loved by either side. And it won't be hated by either side.”
—Trump will pressure Israel.
Ambassador David Friedman explained in a conference call with members of the American Jewish Congress on August 29, 2018 that during upcoming negotiations, President Trump “might say to the Israelis, ‘Look, can you do a little bit more? Look what we did for you. Is there something more that you could do?’”
—The plan will demand that Israel give something “very good” to the PA.
At a rally in West Virginia on August 22, Trump said that the Palestinian Arabs will soon "get something very good" in return for the embassy move "because it's their turn next."
The administration’s approach is wrongheaded and will endanger Israel. The United States should not be treating Israel and the Palestinian Authority as if they are morally equivalent. Israel is America’s democratic ally. The PA is a terror-sponsoring, America-hating totalitarian regime.
Moreover, Israel has spent seventy years surrendering territory, tearing down Jewish communities, releasing dangerous terrorists, and stopping military operations prematurely. It should not be expected to make yet more concessions.
President Trump seems to view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as some neighborhood dispute that can be resolved if each side “gets” something. No matter how much the PA incites violence, no matter how many terrorists its harbors, no matter how many Hamas weapons factories flourish under PA rule—still, it’s their “turn” to “get something.”
I’m concerned that our various Jewish and Zionist organizations don’t seem to be taking these worrisome signs seriously. It looks like business as usual, with the various groups busy planning their gala dinners, sometimes with Trump Administration officials invited. Will the speakers at those dinners speak truth to power? Will they have the courage to utter the painful truths that their dinner guests may not want to hear?
Where is the sense of urgency? Where is our Jewish leaders’ criticism of the many indications of a dangerous tilt in the administration’s policy? I’m not saying that they should be picketing the White House (yet). But organizations that often behave like press release machines could at least be issuing press releases strongly protesting the aspects of the plan that U.S. officials have already revealed. This is no time for silence!
Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” will be published later this month.