Yesterday President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a peace plan, and the Palestinian Authority immediately rejected it. Yet, there is still a chance that the peace plan will work.
James Carafano, a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges, says that “there are good reasons for the U.S. administration to offer a peace plan and offer it now.” He described the President’s peace plan as “a Marshall Plan to help the Palestinian people.” As you may know, the Marshall Plan was used to rebuild Western Europe after the devastation of World War II. Trump is offering a huge investment opportunity for the Palestinians, money that their leaders are rejecting.
Trump made plain that the investment comes with some concessions. There is “a long list of compromises” from both the Israelis and the Palestinians and “some significant land concessions from the Palestinians.” Carafano calls the peace plan “a serious plan” because it was put together with a lot of time and effort. He says that the obvious question is “Why bother? And why now?” He continues by partially answering the questions.
The administration started with some bold and radical assumptions. The most important, and likely the most accurate, was that it was stupid for the U.S. to seem like a neutral disinterested party. Nobody ever believed that.
Israel has been and remains a vital American ally in the region. The U.S. will always put the security of Israel first; that is just a reality. Washington isn’t about to support a plan that is going to hamstring or undermine the capacity of Israel to defend itself.
Trump also rightly rejected the fiction that a Palestinian-Israeli peace was key to solving all the problems of the Middle East – that somehow, as soon as two-state solution was signed, the entire region would blossom into a tranquil land of milk and honey.
Unrestrained by the great myths of the peace process, the president could set about putting forth a realistic plan. Here is why unveiling that plan now makes sense.
There will be no peace as long as groups like Fatah, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad call the shots. They have a vested interest in preventing peace…. There is no money and power for them in peace.
The genius of this plan is it makes clear to the people in the streets the future they could have if they take control of their future away from the likes of Fatah. It creates pressure for political transformation.
Couple that with the enormous pressure the U.S. is placing on the Iranian regime…. Essentially, the U.S. administration is trying to lay the groundwork for a political environment in which Palestinian leaders might one day put the Palestinian people first – not last.
Laying this deal out there also makes clear to America’s Arab friends and allies that the U.S. is serious about continuing to engage in the Middle East and be part of the solution….
Finally, let’s be honest: This plays well here at home. The plan is yet another reminder that this president is not an isolationist….
Will the people known as Palestinians put enough pressure on their political leaders to accept the plan? We do not know the result, but we can rejoice in the fact that Trump has offered them a way to a better life.