Trump’s Plan Embraces the Jewish Biblical Narrative. History Is Only Getting in the Way

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went out of his way to express awe at the boundless creativity of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan while delivering his White House speech on Tuesday. 

But the praise probably wasn't only aimed at Trump's team that drafted the plan. The fingerprints of the Israeli right can be seen on almost every paragraph of the plan's 181 pages, from the lengthy introduction describing the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to details about permits to demolish houses in the Palestinian Authority.

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 59

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The text is impressive in its ability to present a distorted historical narrative and use it as a basis for creating an even more twisted and dangerous political reality. One example is the assertion that “withdrawing from territory captured in a defensive war is a historical rarity.” Not only is this historical “fact” controversial, but the very assertion that the wars in which Israel captured territory were defensive grants the occupation a legitimacy that shouldn’t require it to withdraw from any territory. If so, why not recognize all the territories, including the Gaza Strip, as an inseparable part of Israel?

Elaborating on the issue, the plan argues that the Mideast peace vision “provides for the transfer of sizeable territory by the State of Israel – territory to which Israel has asserted valid legal and historical claims, and which are part of the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people – which must be considered a significant concession.” This amounts to wholesale recognition of biblical claims as the basis for a diplomatic agreement while completely ignoring the question of the Palestinians’ historical right to parts of the land. In effect, the “defensive war” argument isn’t necessary to legitimize the occupation; the Bible provides all the justification needed.

These conclusions could have an impact not only on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but on the entire theory of international relations and the status of international law. For instance, if ancestral rights and historical ties can justify annexation, there’s no reason to sanction Russia for occupying Crimea.

– Peace to Prosperity: The Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan – click to download

IN FULL: Trump’s Middle East peace plan – click to download

Trump’s vision also redefines sovereignty as an "amorphous concept that has evolved over time,” dependent on the agreements and relationships each country has with others. “The notion that sovereignty is a static and consistently defined term has been an unnecessary stumbling block in past negotiations,” the plan says, adding that “pragmatic and operational concerns that effect security and prosperity are what is most important.”