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Editorial: Trump’s Middle East peace plan is too pro-Israel to achieve a solution

  • January 30, 2020
  • , The Japan News , 7:25 p.m.
  • English Press

U.S. President Donald Trump has announced a Middle East peace plan aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The resolution accommodates Israeli positions almost entirely but forces the Palestinian side into submission.


With the long and complex history of their conflicts in mind, it cannot be expected to contribute to a solution.


Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany’s persecution and others founded Israel in 1948, which forced Palestinians to leave their homes.


In the Third Arab-Israeli War in 1967, Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank of the Jordan River. Jewish settlements in the occupied territories have progressed rapidly in recent years.


Successive U.S. administrations, aiming at realizing Middle East peace through a “two-state solution” in which a Palestinian state and Israel would coexist, have stepped up intermediary efforts. However, they have been hampered by difficult issues.


How do they define the borders? What consideration should be shown for the Palestinian assertion that East Jerusalem should be the future capital? Since no answers to such questions have been found, peace talks have been suspended.


The nature of Trump’s proposal is to affirm the current situation in which Israel has intensified its offensive. The plan positions Jerusalem as the “undivided” capital of Israel, incorporating the settlements of the West Bank into Israeli territory.


The Geneva Conventions prohibit a state from transplanting its nationals into territory it occupies. Many countries, including Japan, have taken the position that the status of Jerusalem “should be decided by negotiation between the parties concerned.” The peace plan seems to be detached from the perspective of the international community.


The Palestinian Authority immediately expressed its intention to reject the peace plan. In the first place, the authority has not negotiated with Washington for more than two years in protest of Trump’s support of Israel. It was obvious from the beginning there was no chance it would accept the peace plan.


Nevertheless, Trump pushed ahead with the announcement of the plan. There has to be a political motive behind this.


Israel will hold a parliamentary election in March. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is seeking another term, is in a predicament after being indicted on charges of corruption. Trump’s move of promoting the peace plan with Netanyahu, who was visiting the United States, appears to be a blatant measure of support for his Israeli counterpart.


Meanwhile, Trump himself will run in a presidential election in November. There is no doubt that the peace plan will be used as an “achievement” by the administration to consolidate support from the pro-Israel Christian right and others.


The leaders of both Israel and Palestine have lost their momentum, leaving little hope for the resumption of negotiations. Trump’s Middle East diplomacy, which ignores this reality and prioritizes support for Netanyahu, only undermines trust in the United States.

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