Trump’s game-changing speech of the century

Those of us who trusted Trump not to pull such a stunt – since nothing in his behavior indicated he would – were not worried about the contents or upshot of the deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump winks at Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they discuss a Middle East peace plan proposal during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)
U.S. President Donald Trump winks at Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they discuss a Middle East peace plan proposal during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020
US President Donald Trump’s speech on Tuesday in which he outlined the “Deal of the Century” that has been three years in the making, was nothing short of Earth-shattering. The fact that Israelis across the political spectrum have been arguing over the proposal – called “Peace to Prosperity” – is thus as understandable as it was inevitable.
Unfortunately, however, much of the debate has been focused on the details and viability of the plan, rather than on the significance of how Trump presented it, and why his words were revolutionary. In an effort to downplay the momentousness of the event, his left-wing detractors ridiculed his mispronunciation of “al-Aqsa Mosque” and “United Arab Emirates” with memes and tweets.
These are the same haters who have been accusing Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of conspiring to bolster each other’s chances of electoral success, the former in November and the latter on March 2.
These are the Israelis with the moral and occasional financial support of their counterparts abroad who blame the Jewish state for the plight and antisemitism of the Palestinians. Luckily, such people are in the minority, albeit a vocal one.
The majority of the populace came to realize long ago that the “land for peace” formula is nothing but a recipe for an escalation of the ongoing war against the very Jews begging to resolve the conflict through self-flagellation and appeasement.
This grasp of reality is but one reason that Netanyahu recently surpassed founding father David Ben-Gurion as the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history.
Another is the way in which he has been able to keep the country moving forward at a meteoric pace, while staving off regional and global enemies – those literally wielding axes and launching missiles – and their apologists at the UN, in the halls of academia and in the bowels of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
That Netanyahu managed to navigate the ship through shark-infested waters even when Barack Obama occupied the Oval Office is particularly noteworthy. Obama’s mission from the outset was to undermine American power and particularism. This included signaling to radical Muslims, especially the regime in Tehran, that his version of being the “new sheriff in town” entailed handing his badge, holster and wallet over to the bandits.
That worked out really well for the ayatollahs and their proxies. Not so wonderfully for Israel, though, which Obama held responsible for all the ills of the Middle East.
Indeed, Obama bought and perpetuated the joint Arab and Western leftist lie that the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians was the root cause of turmoil throughout the region.
In a complete about-face from Obama – who made good on his campaign promise to woo the Islamic world and delivered a pandering address at Cairo University to a Muslim Brotherhood-heavy audience – “The Donald” went to Israel.
This turned out to be more than symbolic, as Trump proceeded to undertake a series of unprecedented moves that served what he saw, rightly, as mutually beneficial to America and Israel, and healthy for the world at large.
He moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal; recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; halted funding to UNRWA; demanded that the Palestinian Authority cease its pay-for-slay policy; declared that Israeli settlements were not illegal; and never once called Israel to task for defending itself through strikes on targets in Gaza and Syria.
To describe this as a breath of fresh air following eight years of the polluted atmosphere created by the Obama administration would be a gross understatement. So incredulous were Israelis at the steady flow of gifts from Washington that some began to fear a heavy price was going to be exacted in the future.
The suspicion was that the oft-touted and delayed “Deal of the Century” would reveal the real cost of the friendship. You know, along the lines of a demand for massive Israeli territorial withdrawals and other untenable compromises, all in the name of “peace” with the Palestinians.
Those of us who trusted Trump not to pull such a stunt – since nothing in his behavior indicated he would – were not worried about the contents or upshot of the deal. We knew that no overture of any kind would be accepted by the Palestinian leadership. Furthermore, PA President Mahmoud Abbas already had declared the plan to be a non-starter before he even knew what it contained, and he shunned meetings with US administration officials.
For the first time in his career, Abbas’s tantrums didn’t work. Team Trump responded to his snub by shrugging and treating him like the tiny fish in the miniature pond he actually is.
The affront to his ego, which gets a far greater boost from the international community than it does among his own disgruntled people, has been so enormous that he doesn’t know what to do with his rage, other than call for “days of rage,” which is his default position when faced with any situation relating to Israel.
But even Abbas wasn’t prepared for what Trump had to say this week in the East Room of the White House, with a beaming Netanyahu at his side and a roomful of adoring Republican and Jewish dignitaries punctuating each of his sentences with a standing ovation.
To be fair to Abbas, he wasn’t the only one who couldn’t believe his ears. In fact, the jaw-dropping that ensued crossed all ethnic, religious and geographical lines.
The explanation for this is simple. In one fell swoop, Trump reversed the rhetoric associated with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In doing so, he not only exposed the falsehood of the accepted narrative; he made a moral case for the Jewish state based on history and heritage, not Holocaust victimhood, as Israel’s sole and long-gone legitimacy.
Highlighting his amazement at “what this small country ha[s] achieved in the face of overwhelming odds and never-ending threats,” Trump said, “The State of Israel comprises only a minuscule amount of land in the Middle East, and yet it has become a thriving center of democracy and of ancient culture and commerce. Israel is a light unto the world; the hearts and history of our people are woven together. The Land of Israel is an ancient home, a sacred place of worship and a solemn promise to the Jewish people that we will never again repeat history’s darkest hour.”
CALLING JERUSALEM a “safe, open, democratic city that welcomes people of all faiths and all places,” he announced that the time had come for the Muslim world “to fix the mistake it made in 1948 when it chose to attack instead of recognize the new State of Israel... since then, the amount of needless bloodshed and... so many squandered opportunities in the name of senseless causes is beyond measure.”
He then stressed that Jerusalem would remain Israel’s undivided capital and that the US would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the areas specified in the plan (i.e. the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and settlements in Judea and Samaria).
In a message to the Palestinians, he said, “We will not allow a return to the days of bloodshed, bus bombings, nightclub attacks and relentless terror.... Peace requires compromise, but we will never ask Israel to compromise its security.”
He also gave a partial rundown of the conditions that the Palestinians would have to fulfill before meeting the criteria for statehood: “adopting basic laws protecting human rights, protecting against financial and political corruption; stopping the malign activities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other enemies of peace; ending the incitement of hatred against Israel; and permanently halting the financial compensation to terrorists.”
If they accomplish all of the above, according to the deal, they will be granted $50 billion in investments with which to build a flourishing economy in their demilitarized state, four full years from now. In other words, when apples grow on cherry trees; or when the Palestinians relinquish their goal of annihilating Israel, whichever comes first.
The mere mention of Palestinian statehood has elicited as strong an aversion to Trump’s deal on the Right as it has on the part of leftists claiming that Abbas could never accept its pro-Israel slant.
In this case, the Left is right: Abbas does not and never will accept it. But the Right is wrong precisely for the same reason. In the meantime, while the Palestinians remain intransigent in their self-imposed misery, Israel can go about the business of extending sovereignty over the settlements.
In the event that Palestinian society ever does undergo the kind of fundamental change necessary for peaceful coexistence with Israel, it is a development that should be embraced. A small, non-belligerent autonomous entity would not pose a threat to Israel’s Jewishness or historical rights. 
As Caroline Glick correctly concluded, Trump “didn’t offer us a perfect plan, but he offered us a plan that we can live with.”