Today, President Donald Trump announced his proposal for solving the Israeli-Palestinians conflict, calling the “deal of the century.” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was at his side as both men gave prolonged speeches about it, with Trump’s reportedly being about 50 minutes. But Palestinians were glaringly absent. Their leaders had already denounced the plan without knowing for certain its details.
Netanyahu couldn’t praise Trump enough for this plan. Both leaders credited Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner, for putting together much of this plan. But Kushner must be recognized as an even more biased player than Trump, since young Kushner has always been an observant, Orthodox Jew.
The foremost element of this Trump plan, as had been leaked in recent days, is that the U.S. now recognizes the 121 Jewish settlements in the West Bank–all of which are illegal according to international law witnessed by many UN resolutions in past decades as well as the UN charter–as sovereign territory belonging to Israel. That in itself will encourage Israel to declare them annexed to Israel. This is the main element of Trump’s plan that irks Palestinians because Israel acquired all of the West Bank in the Six Day War of 1967, and Palestinians claim it should be the heartland of a future Palestinian state. The problem with that is that historically, the West Bank ironically resembles almost perfectly ancient Judea and Samaria which was the very heartland of ancient Israel.
The Trump plan also calls for a Palestinian state, which until now was an uncertainty. That in itself is an advance forward which I applaud. But unilaterally declaring the land of the 121 Jewish settlements in the West Bank as belonging to Israel is not the right way to try to solve this conflict. However, it could further cause Palestinians to give up their demand to acquire most or all of the West Bank for a future Palestinian state.
I wrote a book about this conflict, published thirty years, entitled Palestine Is Coming: The Revival of Ancient Philistia. In this book I advocate a two-state solution as the only way in which this conflict will be resolved. And I do believe that will happen, but not the way Palestinians have always demanded. Thus, I state in the book that the Palestinians’ proposal that their future Palestinian state be established as two separated pieces of real estate–the West Bank and Gaza Strip–has always been a non-starter. I furthermore state in the book that if this was to ever happen, it will not survive. Why?In this book, I interpret ten prophecies in the Jewish Bible (Old Testament) to indicate that there will be a Palestinian state, that it will be located solely in the coastal plain, and Israel will annex all of the West Bank, as the map-image on the front cover of this book indicates. (See especially Isaiah 11.14.) Although I do not support Trump’s unilateral plan, which greatly favors Israel at a loss to Palestinians, the plan is one more of many events that have transpired in the past thirty years that move in the direction of what I predict in my book.
Trump’s plan also calls for $50 billion in aid to Palestinians, if they accept this plan, in working toward the creation of a Palestinian state. Trump said that in itself would create 1 million jobs for Palestinians in the region. But the plan does not address the very important issue of the approximately 3.5 million Palestinians who live in UN refugee camps, mostly located in Jordan, Israel’s neighbor. UN principles demand that they be repatriated to their former homeland, present Israel. But does not fly with Israeli Jews since it would threaten Israel being a predominantly Jewish state.
This Trump plan seems to have a contradiction, calling for an “undivided Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel, yet Palestinians having East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, which Palestinians have always demanded. As I state in my book, I think this Palestinian demand has always been an emotional appeal devoid of practicality. A Palestinian state in two separate territories–West Bank and Gaza Strip joined with a twenty-mile corridor–would make it easy for Israel to cut off the capital of the Palestinian state from Gaza if the two countries went to war. That is why a two-state solution should not be anything but two nations lying side-by-side with no non-contiguous land. In fact, the Trump plan wisely calls for this very arrangement. This is another reason why a West Bank-Gaza Palestinian state has always been a non-starter.
Palestinians now need to fully abandon their dream of having a Palestinian state in the West Bank and look elsewhere for a geo-political solution as the fulfillment of their aspiration to have an independent, sovereign state. I believe that now, with this Trump plan in place, Palestinians need to think of a very expanded Gaza Strip as their only chance for their own state. They should offer Israel a land swap–the rest of the West Bank for Israeli territory on the coastal plane south of Tel Aviv. And I believe Egypt should be player by giving Palestinians the region between Gaza and the Wadi el Arish in exchange for I don’t know what.
In sum, this Trump plan represents one more that will force Palestinians to seek their state in a location other than the West Bank. At first, they will think of this negatively because it means Palestinians will have to transfer out of the West Bank. But I believe a very expanded Gaza Strip, with some water from the Nile River and this $50 billion proposed mostly for construction, could offer Palestinians a better state than they could ever achieve in the West Bank.