The Arabs have walked away from every peace proposal since 1937 (1937, 1948, 1967, 2000, 2008, 2014). All of these were based on a similar concept — land for peace and confidence building measures by the Israelis. Anytime Israel did something the Arabs didn’t like, they walked away, thus giving them veto power. The only thing missing in each of these scenarios was Bill Murray.
President Trump recently introduced his vision for peace for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It is radically different from past proposals, incorporating basic realities on the ground, and understanding geopolitical changes in the region.
Rather than trying to understand it or giving it time to be analyzed, the media was quick to condemn it. Dan Simpson was no different in “Trump’s pathetic plan for Palestine” in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Feb. 5. He called it a “joke” and a “raw deal,” incorrectly comparing it to apartheid South Africa, and ignored every legal right the Israelis have on the land of Israel under various international laws and treaties of the last 100 years. He also questioned its effect on American and Israeli politics, thus insinuating it is a political tool of the president and the prime minister.
Simpson also gave the impression that no other Arab states support the proposal by stating that “the Arab League has already rejected the Trump proposal.” The politics of the region are very different and more difficult from what we know. A number of states that voted no at the Arab League meeting have individually expressed support for discussion of the plan. And not everything is as it appears. In the case of Jordan, which has a peace treaty with Israel, one would not expect it to vote against the Arab League because a significant portion of its population is of Palestinian descent. Other countries issue statements for and then voted against the plan. That’s the politics of the Middle East.
The plan has two paths, one for the Israelis and one for the Palestinians. Where it differs from plans of the past 100 years is that each side is required to achieve various goals, A., B., C. The major difference is that if the Palestinians balk along the way, they can’t stop or veto the plan. Israel can continue to fulfill its parts that don’t depend on the Palestinians or their actions.
We hope and pray for peace between the parties. But statements from the Palestinian Authority are no different than in the past, it is always no to any discussion about peace. It is evident that Israel does not have a peace partner in the Palestinians and they still
want nothing less than the entire land of Israel. Let’s hope they don’t see their shadows. pjc
Stuart V. Pavilack is the executive director of the Zionist Organization of America: Pittsburgh.