President Trump’s deal of the century envisioning the creation of a second Arab state in former Palestine – in addition to Jordan – is in tatters following its absolute rejection by the PLO – requiring its urgent revision by the president.
Trump has vainly struggled to keep the statehood possibility alive despite PLO President Mahmoud Abbas having consigned it to the dustbin of history on the day of its publication – 28 January 2020 -but the PLO has refused to play ball.
Being a beggar does not fit Trump’s persona. He is allowing Israel to apply sovereignty in 30% of Judea and Samaria in July – with allocation of the remaining 70% requiring another Arab interlocutor to negotiate with Israel.Trump’s vision was always a mirage – offering the PLO less than 100% of Judea and Samaria it had been demanding since 1967– supported by the international community since the 1980 Venice Declaration.
Trump had predicated his vision without even defining who comprised the “Palestinians”. In addition his plan had incorrectly asserted:
1. “Palestinians have aspirations that have not been realized, including self-determination”.
All West Bank Arabs became Jordanian nationals in 1954 until their nationality was revoked by Jordan in 1988.
2. “The State of Israel has also exchanged sizeable territories for the sake of peace, as it did when it withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for peace with the Arab Republic of Egypt.”
Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 didn’t rate a mention.
3.“One reason for the intractability of this problem is the conflation of two separate conflicts: a territorial, security and refugee dispute between Israel and the Palestinians and a religious dispute between Israel and the Muslim world regarding control over places of religious significance. ”
There is only one conflict – between Jews and Arabs - fuelled by the Arab League’s refusal to recognise the State of Israel since its establishment in 1948.
The religious dispute was resolved under the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty granting Jordan control over places of Islamic religious significance in Jerusalem.
4. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin’s proposal for ending the Jewish-Arab conflict.
Rabin actually said:
“We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.”
Trump’s generous offer of statehood – rather than an entity less than a state – has gone begging with the PLO’s unbelievable rebuff of Trump’s proposal.
5. “This Vision addresses today’s realities, and provides the Palestinians, who do not yet have a state...”
The “Palestinians”do have a state – called Jordan – created in 78% of former Palestine in 1946.The key to ending this 100 years unresolved conflict now requires Trump to call on Jordan to replace the PLO as Israel’s negotiating partner to allocatebetween them the areas designated “Proposed future state of Palestine” in Trump’s vision for peace.
June 1967 marked Jordan’s loss of Judea and Samaria to Israel after 19 years of illegal occupation.
June 2020 will hopefully signal Jordan’s agreement to peacefully return.
Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article—is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog