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The Paradigm Shift on Palestine

The Trump administration's Israel-Palestine peace plan has undermined the belief that internationally agreed principles, such as the need to adhere to the pre-1967 borders, are unassailable. Given how willing the rest of the world seems to be to abandon the Palestinians, these losses will not be easy to reverse.

TEL AVIV – Nobody should be surprised that US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal is heavily tilted toward the Israelis. What is surprising is that, rather than rejecting Trump’s proposal, the world has left the Palestinians largely on their own.

While dismissing the Palestinians’ national yearnings with the patronizing promise to “improve their lives,” the Trump peace plan embraces Israel’s national narrative that it alone has valid historical claims to Judea and Samaria, the Jews’ biblical homeland. So, while it would give the Palestinians their own state, it would be a fragmented territory covering Gaza and 70% of a West Bank dotted with Israeli settlements and surrounded on all sides by Israeli-annexed territory. Its capital would be located in a suburb of East Jerusalem, which would remain Israel’s undivided capital.

The plan ignores Palestinian demands for the right of return to homes left when Israel was established in 1948 – a right that was recognized at the time by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194. Moreover, in line with Israel’s far-right ethnocratic ambitions, the border would be drawn in a way that strips 300,000 Israeli Arabs of their citizenship, making them citizens of the Palestinian state.

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