Trump’s Two-State Solution Sparks Praise and Criticism
The conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is one of the longest conflicts ongoing in contemporary society and attempts at ameliorating the tensions have been, overall, generally unsuccessful.
However, amid facing impeachment charges at home, Trump released his long-awaited peace plan proposal for the situation, which include several concessions to Palestinians not previously available – but also leave several of their central desires under Israeli control.
His peace plan, which he described as a win-win for both sides and a good chance for both to move forward, includes a variety of specifications. Palestinian territory would more than double its current size and would be provided land in East Jerusalem for a capital, in which Trump also said he could open an embassy. The president said this would be a chance for Palestinians to gain their own “independent state,” which has been an urgent demand of theirs.
Trump also described that the land given to Palestinians would remain “open and undeveloped” for “four years” in order to “achieve the criteria for statehood.” On the other hand, several powers are granted to Israel as well. The Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which Palestinians want eliminated, will remain. Trump said that they will not be “uprooted from their home.” Jerusalem under this plan would remain Israel’s “undivided capital.”
The plan called for massive demilitarization of the Palestinian state and the power of security to be in the hands of the Israelis. Additionally, further help over the territory was dependent on the “conditions of statehood” being met, most importantly the “firm rejection of terrorism.”
Israelis have been extremely supportive of this plan, for its work toward peace and, as critics argue, placing much of the power in the region into the hands of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Palestinians, however, have been sharply against the plan, most importantly over the issue of Jerusalem remaining Israel’s capital and not, in its entirety, belonging to the Palestinian state. Both sides lay religious claims to the city. Some groups in Israel as well are unsupportive of the deal in the belief that it heavily slants to Israel’s benefit, relating it to “a form of apartheid.”
Many hope that though the plan is swiftly rejected by Palestinians, and some Israelis are claiming they can move forward with annexing land regardless of that lack of acceptance, the proposal can reopen negotiations that were cut off when Trump placed the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and recognized the city under Jewish control.
Beyond Trump’s supporters, who were generally supportive, some Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded positively, claiming that peace was the goal and that if the plan got them, then they would be content. Democrat Congressman Ted Deutch favored that the conversation itself may lead to further negotiations and a more open dialogue between the two sides.
Democrats who criticized his plan, including Elizabeth Warren, took the side of many critics and said the plan gave far too much power to Israel and was too one-sided to create real peace.
In addition to the city of Jerusalem, the recognition of a Palestinian State, the disputed Israeli settlements in West Bank (which many claim violate international law) and other issues covered in the main segments of the deal, a variety of disputes would still remain.
For example, many Palestinians historically fled or were pushed out by Jewish forces of their homeland and desire to return, while Israel disapproves of this demographically influential possibility on its homeland and claims it threatens their statehood.
Additionally, longstanding ideological differences, such as where exactly the borders should lie, prevent negotiations from being generally effective. As in many places throughout history, the addition of religion and history (especially together) has proven to be a dangerous catalyst for tension in the region and makes peace a very complicated matter. As unlikely as it may be that Palestinians will accept and as likely as it may be that Israel will fully support (and possibly move forward with it), political figures on both sides of the spectrum hope this plan will create an open platform to be counted as a step toward peace.