From what we know so far, the administration’s peace plan is a non-starter.
By Saeb Erekat | The New York Times | May 22, 2019
Mr. Trump’s Middle East team claims that they want to boost the Palestinian economy and improve Palestinian lives, but economic growth can never be a substitute for the right to live in dignity, free from military occupation and oppression, in our homeland.
The Trump administration says it has a peace plan for the Middle East. Those behind it claim that they are offering a new approach to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one focused on an “economic vision,” and that it deserves a chance. Yet none of what has been revealed so far has addressed the real issues: the end of the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and the preservation of the internationally recognized inalienable rights of the people of Palestine.
Unless the Trump administration’s plan addresses these issues head-on, it is a non-starter for the Palestinians. It should be for the rest of the world, as well. Judging from the statements and actions that have emerged from the administration so far, there is no reason to believe that President Trump’s supposed peace plan will present a departure point for peace. On Sunday, the administration announced it will hold a meeting next month in Bahrain called “Peace to Prosperity,” replacing the historic concept of “land for peace.” Let us be clear: There will be no economic prosperity in Palestine without the end of the occupation. Notably, the Palestinian leadership was not consulted by any party on this meeting.
Perhaps none of this should come as a surprise. Palestinians — including me — engaged with the Trump administration for months. Shockingly, the Americans then decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 and the United States’ own avowed commitments to the peace process.
The Trump administration in effect claims it is reinventing international mediation. While the concept of a “biased mediator” has in some negotiations been used to obtain concessions from the party closer to the mediator, that is not what is happening here. The “concessions” that the Trump administration will ask of Israel are marginal. Above all they do not require Israel to end its military control over the land and people of Palestine. What the Trump administration is seeking is not a peace agreement but a Palestinian declaration of surrender.