President Donald Trump has been a great president, and yes, it is all about Israel. Given America’s deep roots in the heritage of Israel, there is no doubt that it is good for America to be good to Israel.
While we know that President Trump built a remarkably robust pre-Corona economy after the creeping socialism of the Obama years, there is no issue on which he has shined more, than on the strengthening of the US-Israel relationship.
One can easily make a list of his great accomplishments:
- The moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem
- The closing of the PLO shadow embassy in Washington, DC
- The withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal
- The (ignored) demand that the Palestinian Authority stop paying salaries to terrorists
- The recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights
- The recognition that there is nothing “illegal” about Israeli communities in Judea and in Samaria.
After all of these praiseworthy accomplishments, President Trump fell into what I call “the trap”. Since every president is told that he has to have a Middle East peace plan, he came up with his Deal of the Century, which admittedly shows more understanding for the Israeli perspective than past peace plans, but sadly, in its attempts to balance the demands of the Arab countries with the needs of Israel, it misses central issues.
Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner has played a major leadership role in developing this plan, but so has Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and one wants to believe that they had good intentions. However, a plan that gives Israel the verbal right to declare sovereignty over some 30% of Judea and Samaria, but clearly and explicitly states the intention to create a Palestinian Arab state in the remaining 70%, with its capital in part of eastern Jerusalem, is a great danger to Israel.
According the text of the plan and the maps as we have seen them, the Palestinian capital in Jerusalem would be just fifty meters from Jewish neighborhoods. In addition, “Palestine” would occupy the western Samarian hills overlooking Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion International Airport. Anyone who has been there knows that hostile forces controlling those heights can ultimately cripple Israel’s airport traffic.
Who could prevent the “sovereign state of Palestine,” which, by the way, would immediately have far more international alliances than Israel, from placing Iranian missiles on those hilltops?
Yes, I know, there are some residents of Judea and Samaria who say to take what we can get while we can get it. I agree that sovereignty in stages is not a bad thing, but:
-If the condition is to endanger some Jewish communities by forcing them into Palestinian Arab-surrounded-enclaves, as the current map calls for, then I cannot agree to this plan.
-If the condition is agreeing to a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, as the current plan calls for, then I cannot agree to this plan.
-Last, but not least, if the condition requires Israel to agree to the entire plan, thereby renouncing its claims to the other 70% of Judea and Samaria, then I am firmly against.
No one, not even “King Bibi”, has a right to hand over even one centimeter of our biblical heartland, especially not to the PLO, an unrepentant terrorist conglomerate that despite all of its slick public relations, remains a sworn enemy of the Jewish state.
Those who say to “take a chance” since the Palestinian Arabs will never agree to the plan, and then Trump will back us, are missing a critical point about American politics. If one is to believe the current polls, President Trump may lose in November. If elected, Joe Biden, an admittedly weak candidate with fading mental capacities, would be controlled by the ascendant far Left of the Democratic party, in which identity politics and political correctness are now dominant. The anti-Israel views of Black Lives Matter and Antifa would rule the day, so it would be absolutely foolish for us to commit to the Palestinian state elements, which are central in this plan.
In that case, any commitments made would certainly be used as leverage against us by an unfriendly administration. Even now, leading Democrats like the ostensibly pro-Israel Senator Charles Schumer have made it clear that they would not accept Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria in any way, shape, or form. However, they would firmly hold Israel to any commitments it makes to accept Palestinian sovereignty.
If the plan requires such commitments, the best alternative would be to declare our sovereignty well before the American elections, even in the coming days, but with no agreement to the rest of the plan, other than reaffirming our commitment to hold talks with no pre-conditions.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeatedly stated that the extent and form of an Israeli declaration of sovereignty is an internal Israeli decision. If we read between the lines, we can understand that there may not be American approval for a unilateral Israeli sovereignty that doesn’t accept the rest of the plan, but there likely would not be condemnation, either, of what is essentially an internal Israeli decision.
This is not a time for feckless compromise and political games. It is a time for bold, honest leadership and national responsibility. Netanyahu has caved under pressure far too often in the past, but now has a chance go down in history as the Israeli statesman who has unconditionally established the Jewish future in Judea, Samaria, and united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty.
David Rubin, former Mayor of Shiloh Israel, is the author of the book, “Trump and the Jews” and five other books. Rubin is the founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, which supports therapeutic-educational projects in the biblical heartland of Israel. He can be found at www.DavidRubinIsrael.com or at www.ShilohIsraelChildren.org