Obama alums wrong on all counts in attacks on Trump Mideast peace plan

By David Friedman, NY POST

Obama alums wrong on all counts in attacks on Trump Mideast peace plan
President Donald J. Trump was joined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House to unveil details of his administration’s Middle East Peace Plan last January.Office of the White House/Shealah Craighead

The Obama administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Middle East as a whole, is best remembered as “often wrong, never in doubt”: from the disastrous Iran deal, to squeezing Israel without obtaining meaningful peace concessions from the Palestinians, to allowing the UN jackals to demonize and single out the Jewish state.

Now, two of the architects of the last administration’s Mideast policy have publicly offered their advice on how to frustrate President Trump’s bold and creative Vision for Peace and Prosperity, a major step forward in the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Philip Gordon and Robert Malley, champions of the Iran deal and apologists for Palestinian intransigence, published an article last week in Foreign Policy magazine headlined: “Biden Must Speak Out Against Israeli Annexation Plans Before It’s Too Late.”

Gordon and Malley served up a barrage of falsehoods and wrongheaded ideas. Seven especially ­demand answering.

(1) The authors argue that the limited annexation of West Bank territory envisioned by Trump would jeopardize Israel’s future as a Jewish state. Wrong. Under the Trump vision, ­Israel would be claiming sovereignty over a fraction of the West Bank, comprising territories that either are sparsely populated or overwhelmingly populated by Israeli Jews. ­Israel wouldn’t be doing that to territories with significant Palestinian populations. Therefore, the vision wouldn’t alter the Jewish majority within the State of Israel. In fact, it would increase it.

(2) Gordon and Malley also argue that the vision would jeopardize Israel’s democracy. Wrong again. A majority of Israelis, as well as Israel’s democratically elected government, support the president’s vision. It is ironic that so many of Israel’s critics, who purport to care so much about democracy, condemn Israel when it adheres to the will of its own citizens. The vision would only enhance democracy by permitting Israelis to choose their elected leaders — and Palestinians to freely do the same. Two states for two peoples.

(3) Which brings us to their third piece of malarky, as Joe Biden would put it: that the ­vision would undermine the two-state solution. Wrong. On the contrary, the Trump vision provides for a two-state solution. Ours is the first and only administration to have obtained Israel’s commitment to negotiate based upon specific terms, conditions and territorial dimensions that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state with double the geographic footprint they enjoy now.

(4) The Trump vision, the critics claim, violates international law. False. Settlements of the kind allowed under the deal don’t presumptively violate international law. That’s not our view alone. It is the longstanding position going back to Undersecretary of State Eugene Rostow, who negotiated the 1967 UN resolution setting out peace terms between Israel and her Arab neighbors following the Six-Day War.

(5) The Trump vision relegates Palestinians to second-class status, Gordon and Malley charge. Wrong, yet again. The vision gives Palestinians a clear path to statehood and a huge influx of economic investment that would allow them to live independently with peace, prosperity and dignity.

(6) Gordon and Malley want the United States to reject any action the Israelis take in furtherance of the Trump vision unless the Palestinians agree. Wrong. That approach was taken for 53 years and led nowhere. Giving the Palestinians a veto on progress guarantees stagnation and violence.

(7) The two Obama alumni would withhold aid to Israel and deny it support at the United Nations if the Jewish state declares sovereignty in conformity with the Trump vision. Wrong. Extremely wrong. ­Israel has made enormous concessions in agreeing to negotiate in accordance with the Trump vision, and it shouldn’t be punished for acting in accordance with its commitment to Washington. To do that isn’t in the region’s interest — or America’s.

Publicly seeking to frustrate the foreign policy of our duly elected president is downright obnoxious. It’s even worse when the effort comes from members of a prior administration that never achieved any steps towards peace and that damaged the US-Israel relationship. And it is still worse than that when the critique is flat-out wrong in so many respects.

David Friedman is the US ­ambassador to Israel.

May 6, 2020 | 7 Comments » | 364 views

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7 Comments / 7 Comments

  1. go after Philip Gordon and Robert Malley under the Logan act. Obamas minions used it to go after Flynn. lol

  2. Difficult to know where republican leaders stand vis a vis the conflict but for practical purposes the dems have always been the “anti-Semitic” party. Most Adm foreign policy was invariably controlled by the SD. The same goes for the Foreign Office and le Quai d’ Orsay! Their policy was never pro-Israel.

  3. I am disappointed with Freedman.
    why is he pretending that anyone wants a “Palestinian” state?
    Why should Israel give them land?
    America has much more land, they can give if they want.

  4. @ vivarto:
    Everyone DOES want a Palestinian state (except for Israel, of course).
    This state will cut off 70% of Judea and Samaria and be a perpetual violent and growing entity whose purpose will be to keep Israel in a state of war and to endanger its existence.
    This is why the Jewish settlement expansion should have continued unabated instead of having been frozen.

  5. Everyone does want a Palestinian State except, of course, the Palestinian Arabs. What they want is all of what was once Western Palestine: in other words, Israel gone. Thus, Palestinian Arab leaders are unlikely to agree to the demilitarized state Trump’s plan envisions.

    For the best explication of why the Israeli settlements are legal, I recommend Karen Stahl-Dan’s excellent paper “The British Mandate: Defining the Legality of Jewish Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria under International Law,” complete with its footnotes. Israel should be stressing that the land Palestinian Arabs supposedly want for a state belongs legally to Israel.

  6. @ Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld:
    You are right but we can’t ASSUME anything here.
    History and politics are not mathematics.
    It is not an unchanging scientific principle that the Palestinian Arabs don’t want a state and will never agree to accept one. They have been getting closer and closer to getting a state for decades with “recognition” given to it by a number of countries.
    “The State of Palestine is recognized by 138 [the majority of] UN members and since 2012 has a status of a non-member observer state in the United Nations.” Wikipedia
    As far as “a demilitarized state” – the defeated Germany was also supposed to exist as a demilitarized state after the 1st world war (under “international law”), and all of us know what happened next.
    “Legality” doesn’t mean anything under so-called “international law” but facts on the ground and a big fist do.
    I will repeat it again: it was the greatest error if not treachery on the part of Israel’s government to try to be “good boys and girls” by freezing the settlement construction (and not really promoting aliyah) while the PA was building and building in Judea and Samaria financed by the EU.
    What do the facts on the ground tell us?
    There are 2.5 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and 0.5 million Jewish “settlers” (who are effectively stateless). The Jews quit building and expanding the settlements and appear to be thrilled to get just 1/3rd of the land with no preconditions, and the Arabs are keeping at it, lobbying the UN, playing hard to get, etc.
    Who appears to want this land more (and more of it), the Jews or the Arabs?
    A GOOD QUESTION!

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