Back to Top

Elusive Peace: Middle East Plan Announcement

"They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace." Jeremiah 6:14

Last week, many people around the United States completely missed the little blurb in the news reporting on the historic and devastating "Middle East Plan" announced by President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on January 29, 2020. The U.S. news was full of other reports, not the least of which has been President Trump's impeachment trial. Nonetheless, the two nation's leaders gathered with dozens of others in a meeting at the White House, where they described some of the details of the "Peace to Prosperity" plan. 

How could any plan could be remotely considered when all of the parties are not at the table? 

You can read the letter from me that we published last week describing how I sat with the team from Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) astounded that any plan could be remotely considered when all of the parties are not at the table. Other than the obvious concern that Palestinian self-determination and contributions to the plan were ignored - what other concerns does CMEP have about the proposal?  

You can read a more thorough summary analysis of the Trump proposal on our website, but here are a few of the primary points of concern:

  1. The proposal purports to be about a "two-state solution," but in actuality, any future state of Palestine would really only be islands of territory "allocated" by the plan. 

  2. It is important to note that a state for Palestinians would only be allowed if they "meet the challenges of peaceful coexistence" to Israel's satisfaction. In the meantime, movement within the Israeli political scene continues to progress forward toward annexation.

  3. The Trump speech and "vision" assure Israel of its "undivided capital" in Jerusalem. At the same time, the Palestinians will have a capital in East Jerusalem. With the assurances of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, other than a few suburbs in the outskirts of the Holy City, both of these promises can't be kept. Rather, the "plan" further entrenches Israeli control over the entire city of Jerusalem. 

  4. There is no settlement freeze. Instead, the plan gives Israel sovereignty over existing settlement areas in the occupied Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. 

  5. While the plan assures "no Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes," it does allow for the possibility of land swaps that theoretically could disenfranchise Palestinian citizens of Israel or displace Palestinians from homes by claiming they do not technically have title to the land.  

These are just a few of the broad-sweeping concerns about the "Peace to Prosperity" proposal of the Trump Administration. The Trump "deal" aspires toward prosperity for some while ignoring the devastating effects on Palestinians who will only be increasingly disenfranchised. 

Power differentials between parties must also be acknowledged and addressed.

If a just and holistic peace between Israelis and Palestinians is ever to be accomplished, a peace plan must include all parties present at the table. Power differentials between parties must also be acknowledged and addressed. The legitimate security needs of all people in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) must also be a consideration. It is in the best interest of Israelis and Palestinians that a solution is sought that brings the more than 50+ years of military occupation to an end. 

How can American Christians respond? Join us in praying for peace and add your comments and prayers here. Keep your eye out for action alerts where together we send notes calling on elected officials to support policies that are beneficial to Israelis, Palestinians, and all people in the Middle East. Our work toward a holistic and just peace has never been more critical. May God go before us in our efforts.

Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash

The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

In order to steward ministry shares well, commenting isn’t available on Do Justice itself because we engage with comments and dialogue in other spaces. To comment on this post, please visit the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue’s Facebook page (for Canada-specific articles) or the Office of Social Justice’s Facebook page. Alternatively, please email us. We want to hear from you!

Read more about our comment policy.