I post often about developments regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because I wrote a book about it, and this subject relates to the Bible. In fact, the main thrust of my book is that biblical prophecies indicate that there will be a Palestinian state and it will be located in the coastal plain, thus not in the West Bank. I state at the beginning of my book, “Palestine Is Coming is about land theology, one of the most neglected subjects in Rabbinic and Christian doctrine” (p. 7).
President Donald Trump wrote a book, The Art of the Deal. He brags incessantly about being such a deal maker in business. As president he has often said that solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict would be “the mother of all deals.” This is one of the few things he says with which I agree. But his efforts to solve it will fail. Here’s why.
First, President Trump selected his son-in-law Jared Kushner as the point person to solve this problem, which was a big mistake. Kushner is only 38 years old and thus too young. And, like his father-in-law, he has no experience dealing with this difficult issue.
Second, Kushner is not only a Jew, but a practicing Orthodox Jew. That makes him very biased in dealing with this problem and therefore quite unqualified to bring these two parties in conflict together to solve this problem.
Third, Trump has said things and done things in only two years as president which have completely alienated him from the Palestinian Authority leadership, which governs Palestinians living in the West Bank, starting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Trump has gone against it and international community standards in dealing with this issue by doing this: (1) recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, (2) moving the U.S. embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, (3) acknowledging Israel’s right to annex the Golan Heights, which it did in 1981, and (4) cutting off U.S. foreign aid of $100-300 million annually to the PA even though the U.S. for over forty years has given Israel $3 billion annually in foreign aid (much of which involves military armaments).
Fourth, Kushner also works with David Friedman, U.S. ambassador to Israel, in putting together their plan for solving this dispute. Friedman, like Kushner, is highly biased by being a practicing Orthodox Jew. Moreover, Friedman previously was quite active in supporting Jewish settlements in the West Bank, all of which are illegal according to international law. And for a long time he has called for Israel to do the most inflammatory thing possible in this dispute: call for Israel to unilaterally annex all Jewish settlements in the West Bank if not annex all of the West Bank.
Fifth, it is being reported that this Kushner-Friedman plan does not include a two-state solution of any kind. Rather, it is reportedly a monetary plan, offering Palestinians $40-50 billion for development in their West Bank territory. This is the bottom line: West Bank Palestinians WILL NOT accept any solution that does not fulfill their main aspiration, which is a sovereign state and territory of their own. To fling some cash at Palestinians, with no state of their own, is an insult. The PA has already been on record that they will not accept this whatsoever. And Hamas, which governs Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, certainly will not accept it either even though they are being completely ignored as terrorists. If younger people took over the PA leadership, maybe they would be willing to forego Palestinian statehood, but I doubt it.
Kushner and Friedman have remained very tight-lipped about their plan. Kushner finally spoke up this week about it. But he didn’t reveal much. He only said that they will reveal the plan as soon as Islam’s Ramadan is finished, in June. They can’t go much beyond that due to attention on the 2020 election for U.S. president.