President Trump, working through peace-plan architect Jared Kushner, has just announced a key element of the long-awaited “Deal of the Century.” It consists of $50 billion in economic aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) as an integral component of a peace plan with Israel. And what was the Palestinian response? Absolute rejection. But why?
The question bears repeating: why on earth would the Palestinian Authority decline a $50 billion economic aid package which would benefit their currently impoverished people?
Firstly, they are not impoverished. Their standard of living is higher than all of Israel’s neighbors. Nonetheless, people understandably will think Palestinian Authority chief Abbas is a fool for rejecting $50 billion but there are two primary reasons for that. Particularly troubling for Abbas’s corrupt PA government is a mechanism in the plan to prevent diversion of funds, either into their own pockets or to terrorists, to whom the PA pays salaries. Secondly, history has taught us that Abbas will not agree to any plan that doesn’t give the Palestinians an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
So, is the “Deal of the Century” a losing proposition? Only as it pertains to Abbas and the PA, but it is positive as it pertains to some of the Arab nations. Since Abbas’s conditions, unfortunately, are deal breakers, the Bahrain Conference will, paradoxically, succeed in strengthening economic and strategic ties between Israel and the Arab nations, many of whom are starting to notice how the PA’s inflexibility is the real problem.
While there is a possibility that some pressure will be put on the Palestinian Authority to make peace with Israel during the upcoming three-way Russia-US-Israel meeting of the National Security Advisors in Jerusalem, that is not the focus of the trilateral meeting. The focus is Iran. Israel and the US will be demanding all Iranian troops leave Syria. Since the Russians have a presence in Syria, they can influence the situation, but they may resist the pressure, at least publicly. Privately, they will probably pressure Iran to leave Syria and if that doesn’t work, they can be expected to give Israel the green light to intensify its attacks on Iranian bases in Syria. Trump and Netanyahu are working together, but Putin will try to cooperate, at least privately.
Back to Abbas and the PA, apart from the Trump/Kushner “Deal of the Century,” perhaps the question of the century may well be: Is there a peace plan that can work in Israel?
I believe there is but it’s not dependent on the approval of the PA, even though it would be good for all the Arab residents who want to live in Israel peacefully, rather than destroying Israel.
The plan that I have proposed is called “Peace for Peace.” It is the antithesis of the failed land-for-peace proposals suggested by virtually every other recent U.S. president. The two basic principles are full Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria – the so-called West Bank – coupled with a comprehensive path to loyal citizenship for all non-citizen residents in this region that Israel recaptured in the defensive Six Day War of 1967.
Such a process would include a three-year comprehensive good citizenship course, followed by two-three years of national service, culminating with an oath of loyalty to the state of Israel.
Many non-citizens in Judea and Samaria, many of whom I know personally, would seize at the opportunity to become loyal Israeli citizens. Many others would refuse, thereby minimizing the demographic danger to Israel, but the truth be told, noted demographers such as Yoram Ettinger have shown that the Jewish birth rates in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem have been sky-rocketing for the past two decades, way beyond that of the Arabs.
Israel is undergoing a social renaissance, in which the traditional family is having a resurgence and having large Jewish families is fashionable once again. Therefore, when we examine the current reality, we see that the demographic threat is greatly exaggerated by those who cling to a land for peace agenda.
Apart from the practicality of my proposed solution, Israel has clear historical rights to these areas and is not obligated to offer any peace plan—especially to a Palestinian Authority that for years has been giving salary payments to each and every terrorist that has killed or wounded an Israeli. This includes the three Fatah terrorists who shot and wounded me and my then three-year-old son in December of 2001, and their salaries continue to this day.
President Trump likes new ideas. He has personally Tweeted some of my ideas in the past. I hope that he will include these new ideas in his plan if he wants it to succeed.
David Rubin, former mayor of Shiloh Israel, is the author of the new book, “Trump and the Jews”. Rubin is the founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, established after he and his then three-year-old son were wounded in a terror attack. He can be found at www.DavidRubinIsrael.com or at www.ShilohIsraelChildren.org.