American Left, not Muslim states, melts down over Trump peace plan

The problem for critics is that there is an Israeli consensus on this plan.

AN IRANIAN protester holds a poster with an Israeli flag. (photo credit: REUTERS)
AN IRANIAN protester holds a poster with an Israeli flag.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
After US President Donald Trump released the diplomatic half of the “Deal of the Century” to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, the plan has garnered tremendous support in many circles, but it has also brought out the worriers, naysayers and doubters, former US diplomatic officials who were previously involved in attempts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict – and failed miserably.
These critics were involved in previous peacemaking efforts that created wrongful moral equivalence between the two sides, viewed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the center of all Middle East conflicts, saw the settlements as obstacles to peace and against international law, ignored historical realities and fell hard for the Palestinian narrative. Now, these “experts” are fighting over who can be more Palestinian than the Palestinians and more critical of the plan.
The problem for critics is that there is an Israeli consensus on this plan. Aside from those on the fringes of the political Left and Right, a majority of Israel’s citizens, both to the right of center represented largely by the Likud party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and also to the left of center represented largely by the Blue-and-White party led by Benny Gantz, support this peace plan.
“I emphasize once again that the president’s peace plan is a historic opportunity,” Gantz said. “Immediately after the election I will implement it through a stable government.”
“Trump is a courageous friend of the State of Israel,” Gantz added. “I thanked the president for his commitment to Israel’s security. I thanked him for recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights and moving the embassy to Jerusalem.”
But even Gantz is too far-right for some.
US foreign policy “pundits” and “experts” who are uncomfortable with Trump in the White House and are uncomfortable with his peace plan – which they seem to view as too pro-Israel – have sought the spotlight to share their “concerns.”
Dennis Ross, who played a central role in past Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations, cast doubts on the success of the plan, but this comes from a man who kept applying tried-and-failed strategies, always put Palestinian interests first, pushed Israel to give away as much land as possible, ignored Palestinian intransigence, incitement to terror and naively assumed the Palestinian leadership genuinely wanted peace.
Every peace plan to date has leaned heavily towards Palestinian interests, but Daniel Shapiro, a former US ambassador to Israel during the Obama administration, seemed to complain that, with Trump’s plan, “on nearly every major issue in dispute, the president’s ‘Vision’ comes down firmly on the side of Israeli preferences.”
Daniel Kurtzer, also a former US ambassador to Israel and who served during the Clinton administration, mocked the Trump administration’s plan as “snake oil diplomacy – packaging useless ideas and trying to market them as innovative” and slammed it as “a plan that Palestinians will justifiably reject.” Kurtzer seems to have forgotten that his own failed ideas were useless and completely lacking in innovation.
David Makovsky, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he is “very worried” about Israel annexing any land. He said that doing so might “tip it to where it will force the Arab world into the Palestinian corner.” Makovsky, like Ross, has also made the same mistakes for years, wrongfully equates the two sides and makes naive assumptions about the Palestinian leadership’s interest in peace.
These officials, and others, fail to admit their reliance on the same failed formula and their eager adoption of the Palestinian narrative. Their failed attempts to resolve the conflict only raised Palestinian expectations and led nowhere. Their opinions today are irrelevant.
Democratic presidential candidates have also expressed automatic disappointment with the peace plan.
Former vice president Joe Biden framed the plan as “a political stunt that could spark unilateral moves to annex territory and set back peace even more.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren promised to “reverse” US policy if the Trump administration approves any Israeli annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria.
“Trump’s ‘peace plan’ is a rubber stamp for annexation and offers no chance for a real Palestinian state,” Warren tweeted. “Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a sham. I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form – and reverse any policy that supports it.”
Senator Bernie Sanders said “any acceptable peace deal… must end the Israeli occupation and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent state of their own alongside a secure Israel. Trump’s so-called ‘peace deal’ doesn’t come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict. It is unacceptable.”
Ironically, while the American Left is having a meltdown, some Muslim countries are pretty much fine with Trump’s plan. Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar, Egypt, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates all support the plan.
Egypt “recognizes the importance of considering the US administration’s initiative.”
Bahrain “commends the United States of America for its determined efforts to advance the peace process.”
Qatar “appreciates the endeavors of President Trump and the current US administration to find solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
Three ambassadors from Bahrain, Oman and United Emirates attended the White House event – a significant milestone in the history of Arab-Israeli conflict resolution. But many of the critics downplayed the significance of this, saying “only” three had shown up.
Critics also complained that this is a one-sided plan and the party with which Israel is meant to negotiate has not been involved and was not present at the ceremony. The problem with this complaint is that it overlooks the fact that it was the Palestinians who recused themselves from involvement, rejecting the plan as biased toward Israel. Notably, Israel did not back away from involvement in the past even when it thought the plan was biased toward the Palestinians.
Shapiro admits that “Palestinian leaders, who have long boycotted direct talks, denied Israel’s legitimacy and winked at violence, bear significant responsibility for their people’s hardship.”
The Palestinian leadership has been lying to its people for decades, claiming that the entire area of Judea and Samaria is “occupied Palestinian land” and the US – and the aforementioned “experts” – bought into this lie for many years, parroting the Palestinian narrative.
So if Palestinian leaders are placed “in an untenable position, unable to defend to their people something that will look like a total surrender” as Shapiro writes, whose fault is it that the Palestinians aspire to more? Certainly not Israel’s, but rather those parties who consistently raised the Palestinians’ false expectations at every opportunity.
These left-wing Democratic politicians and so-called “experts” have all failed to persuade Israel that they have Israel’s best interests at heart. Their attempts to make peace ended in total failure and their insistence on reverting to the same failed formula of land-for-peace based on the 1949 Armistice lines speaks volumes of their inability to come up with any creative solutions.
Their hyperventilating is amusing to watch.
The writer is a former aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and currently writes for