OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

Right-wing opponents of the Trump peace plan have lost perspective

Unfortunately, to judge from many of the reactions on the Israeli right to the plan, one might think the U.S. administration had come out in support of a jihadi state of Palestine.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, joined by members of their delegations, participate in a bilateral meeting on Jan. 27, 2020, in the Oval Office. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, joined by members of their delegations, participate in a bilateral meeting on Jan. 27, 2020, in the Oval Office. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.
Gedaliah Blum
Gedaliah Blum
Gedaliah Blum is the co-founder of the Heartland Initiative, a platform enhancing global engagement with Israel, and Dapei Katom, which supports family-run businesses in Israel's heartland.

From its first day, the Trump administration’s policies have been pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian Authority. Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s undivided capital, recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, closing down P.A. diplomatic offices in the United States, ending/freezing funds to the P.A. over its payments to terrorists—the list goes on and on.

The administration includes people like U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, ex-head of the American Friends of Beit El Institutions and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who publicly declared that Jews have legal rights to Judea and Samaria. Friendship to Israel within this administration runs deep.

What’s the point?

Simply that Trump administration couldn’t be more right-wing. Of course, it has other diplomatic considerations, but taking all of that into account, I think we in Israel need to turn our faces skyward and thank God for this gift of friendship, especially after what we experienced with the previous administration.

Unfortunately, to judge from many of the reactions on the right, one might think the Trump administration had come out in support of a jihadi state of Palestine. The shouts, the articles, the quotes about being “stabbed in the back”—it’s as if they’ve completely lost perspective, and perhaps even their minds.

The fact is that the Trump plan was written, together with Israeli officials, by some of the above-mentioned figures in the Trump administration, figures who as stated have been instrumental in forming the administration’s pro-Israel and anti-P.A. policies.

Only those on the inside know the truth about the plan’s intent, but as far as I can tell it is the greatest possible gift to the Israeli right. It was designed to benefit the Israeli right. P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas was 100 percent correct when he said the plan is a “one-sided proposal that rewards Israel’s occupation.” The P.A. boycotted the plan and were not part of it. This is why it was easy for the U.S. administration and Israel to make sure that all of the P.A.’s “red lines” were made precondition for establishing a Palestinian state.

Red lines such as the “right of return,” Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, continuing payments to terrorists in Israeli jails, disarming Hamas and borders at the ’67 lines without even “one filthy Jewish foot” present. The U.S. peace plan sets all these as conditions to be fulfilled before the United States will recognize an independent Palestinian state.

In other words, the United States and Israel created this plan to expose the Palestinian Arabs as the rejectionists that they are; the world can now sit back and watch as they reject autonomy and $50 billion.

Unfortunately, many of us seem to have seen only the words “agreement” and “Palestinian state,” and then lost our minds. Many of those who responded negatively got their message through right to the U.S. administration, hurting feelings and causing the Americans to walk back some of their previous statements.

So while we on the Israeli right could have sat back and watched the Arabs reject basic principles of normal human behavior, we instead had leaders screaming out against the Trump administration because it called for a Palestinian State—in four years, if the Palestinians agree to go against everything they ever stood for.

It’s a shame. If we all kept our outraged mouths shut, the Trump administration would have heard only the Arab reaction, and might have turned to the Israeli government and greenlit unilateral steps as a result.

If you are outraged by the U.S. plan, perhaps it’s time to either take a step back and gain some perspective, or alternatively, to take a back seat and let others with a more strategic way of thinking take over.

Gedaliah Blum is an Israeli activist and co-founder of Dapei Katom, a campaign that promotes businesses in Judea and Samaria.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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