01.28.20

Reaction To President Trump’s Middle East ‘Deal Of The Century’

“The one-sided Middle East plan that the President has announced is a striking example of President Trump’s familiar playbook of delusional hyperbole over reality.  After years of empty promises while systematically dismantling decades of bipartisan U.S. policy in order to benefit only one party, it is farcical to call something a ‘deal’ and impose it on the other party knowing it will be rejected.  It is a plan that would diminish the prospects for peaceful coexistence, while damaging our country’s hard-won role as a force for stability in the Middle East, which also has implications for U.S. security interests in the region and beyond.  

“The President’s plan is marketed as a roadmap for peace.  It is not.  It is a roadmap for annexing settlements and territory, and indefinite occupation, while creating the mirage of a future Palestinian ‘state.’  It is about catering to an extreme constituency for whom the Palestinians exist as a threat to be intimidated, humiliated, and contained, not as a population and culture with legitimate rights, aspirations, and needs. 

“The Trump plan, which is also the Netanyahu plan, would deepen divisions and further erode hope for a peaceful and viable two-state solution.  It would damage relations with our ally Jordan.  It would be cited to justify other forcible annexations of territory in violation of international law. 

“The Trump plan would also jeopardize Israel’s security.  Israel would either become a one-party, undemocratic state that depends on the perpetual oppression of millions of desperate and resentful Palestinians, or the Palestinians would be left with a diminishing patchwork of enclaves that only the most cynical would label a ‘state.’  Either portends continuing discord, extremism, and armed conflict. 

“Real peace between Israelis and Palestinians will not be won by fiat, force, or photo-ops.  It requires the kind of steady, responsible leadership and compromise shown by Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein, who understood that peace is possible only by building trust and genuinely addressing the interests of both parties.  That kind of leadership is sorely lacking today.”

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[Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the ranking member of the panel’s State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee.]

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