Trump’s Piece Plan Is Not a Peace Plan
For much of the 21 years that I served as a rabbi in two congregations in London, I also worked voluntarily as a marriage guidance counsellor. I don’t know how effective I was in helping my clients, but I know that the training and the experience helped me to better understand life as well as myself.
One of the important things I learnt is that not all problems have solutions and that this is true in many walks of life, including politics. The insight has also influenced my view of the relationship between Palestinians and the State of Israel. That’s why I was so impressed with Micah Goodman’s essay in The Atlantic that I wrote about recently in which he suggests that the situation in this region cannot be resolved, but that the problem can be shrunk. He identified ways in which the shrinking can be done.
Trump’s much heralded “deal of the century” is turning out to be a painful illustration of the futility of offering definite solutions to the Israeli-Palestine issue. Despite Prime Minister Netanyahu’s enthusiastic reception and the statements by members of President Trump’s entourage that this was the best deal Palestinians could expect, most reactions on all sides have been largely negative.
Here’re but a few examples: the Israeli right-wing was scandalized by the prospect of a Palestinian state; the Israeli left-wing and the Palestinian Authority were scandalized by the proposed annexation by Israel of parts of the territory; Arabs in Israel were scandalized by the proposal to transfer their towns and villages to the Palestinian state; neighboring Jordan with its large Palestinian population was scandalized by the prospect of the annexation of the Jordan Valley. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
The apparent support of some Muslim states is baffling. It may have more to do with making nice to the Americans. Despite their pro-Palestinian rhetoric, they never seemed to care much for the Palestinians and may now be prepared to show it openly.
Benny Gantz’s seeming support for the plan may have more to do with election tactics than actual approval. Or perhaps his politics aren’t much different from Netanyahu’s.
The Americans themselves seem to have had cold feet almost immediately after the publication of their “peace” plan and urged Israel not to act on it at least until after the March 2 election. So why did they publish it now? Was it to harness the votes of the evangelicals or to help Netanyahu in the Israeli elections?
Not having solutions means not having answers. To confuse the fragments of territory that is the piece plan proposed by the Americans with a universally acceptable peace plan may turn out to be an illusion that will cost us all dearly.
Jerusalem 4.2.20 Dow Marmur