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Trump on Mideast: It’s not a plan, not about bringing peace

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
President Donald Trump looks over at Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a joint news conference to announce a new Middle East peace plan proposal in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday.

President Trump’s proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan is not a proposal, not a plan and has nothing to with bringing a peaceful settlement to the long tragic tale.

Maybe it is a political gift to the corruption-riddled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who hailed it as wonderful and brilliant, even though he knows it will not be accepted.

It is a haughty, high-handed, transparently one-sided diktat, damaging to U.S. credibility as a potential broker in the long search for a settlement with which both sides can live.

It is utterly cynical, utterly Trumpian, playing only to certain elements of his base and perhaps helping him raise some campaign funds for 2020. I suspect that the majority of American Jews will see it for what it is.

I’m a Jew who has always hoped for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement with which both sides could live, that would allow Israel to live in peace with its neighbors and mitigate the harm done to the Palestinian Arabs.

There’s no perfect settlement with which hardliners on both sides will be satisfied. The Palestinians have long understood that the Americans favor the side of Israel, which has always been their ally. Previous American presidents who have tried to broker a deal understood this also, but pressed Israel to make concessions necessary to get a deal with which both sides could live.

This is not that.

Comments (59)

  1. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/29/2020 - 11:41 am.

    The Rs certainly have a theme: the Mideast Peace proposal is along the exact same lines of Trump and McConnell “coordinating” their impeachment activities.

    A lot easier to claim victory in a 3 party negotiation when you inform the third party in your victory statement after all the decisions have been made.

  2. Submitted by Brian Simon on 01/29/2020 - 12:39 pm.

    Seems like a fair trade. Help the allegedly corrupt PM build a governing coaltion for distracting the US electorate/media from that pesky Senate show trial. What’s not to like?

  3. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 01/29/2020 - 12:54 pm.

    Well everything done to date has failed so why not try something different? Likely there will never be peace there because all of Islam does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.

    The US should just leave the area and let those nations/people solve their own problems

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/29/2020 - 06:59 pm.

      Iran has an easy solution.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/29/2020 - 09:10 pm.

      All of Islam? I’m not sure what that means, but Israel’s Muslim neighbors Egypt and Jordan recognize Israel’s right to exist.

      I’m just curious – do you even make an attempt to verify whether something is true before you make a factual claim?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/30/2020 - 02:53 pm.

        It has two possible meanings:
        First, whether all Islamic countries without exception support Israel’s right to exist?
        Whether all Islamic countries deny Israel’s right to exist.
        And of course; one must define ‘Islamic country’:
        Indonesia is the largest predominantly Muslim country.
        India has the largest Muslim population.

  4. Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/29/2020 - 01:11 pm.

    There is no foreign policy area in which Trump’s “efforts” can be considered serious or beneficial to the nation. In every aspect of his “governance”, he thinks of nothing other than (imagined) political benefit to him.

    Thus Trump’s ill-considered “Trade War”, in which he ingloriously had to beat a hasty retreat and beg China for a truce. Thus his unconstitutional “Muslim ban”, done for no good reason whatsoever other than brainless jingoism. Thus his policy of Latino refugee harassment, done to gratify his personal sadism and pander to the cruelty his nativist base.

    Thus his blithely throwing away of the Iran Nuclear deal, with not the slightest idea of what to put in its place (other than unjust sanctions for Iran carrying out its obligations). Thus the absurd and scientifically illiterate withdrawal from the Paris Accords, done solely out of spite. Thus the appalling supplication and ridiculous spectacle of his bro-mance with Kim Jong Un, which has merely permitted the development of ever more reliable nuclear weapons technology. Thus the gratuitously insulting moving of our embassy in Israel, and now the blank check for the corrupt Netanyahoo. Thus the illegal assassination of Soleimani, thoughtlessly bringing us into a state of war with Iran, endangering Americans abroad and causing our soldiers in Iraq to be declared “terrorists” subject to attack and expulsion. Etc, Etc, Etc.

    In every case, the decision was for him a selfish personal calculation: what’s politcally best for me with my spiteful, angry base of know-nothings? Actual policy grounds and objective analysis have no part to play in the Trump WH, a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” if ever there was one.

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/29/2020 - 01:22 pm.

    He’s playing to people like the Adelsons and the Kushners — wealthy supporters who are not representative of the rest of us American Jews.
    Secondarily, he’s playing to Arab supporters like the Saudi’s for whom the Palestinians are an inconvenient truth.

  6. Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/29/2020 - 03:31 pm.

    Yeah, I read this over pretty carefully. I was hoping it might be a good starting point, but its just bad faith garbage.

  7. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/29/2020 - 03:38 pm.

    The proposed map is a joke!

    Tunnels and enclosed highways to connect remaining segments of a “country”, with those remaining segments speckled with illegal settlements?

    Name one other country like the proposed map.

    A “peace agreement” negotiated by one side doesn’t end a war, especially a guerrilla war.

  8. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 01/29/2020 - 04:12 pm.

    That is strong condemnation without saying anything about why you think it is so unworkable, what is actually in it that is so bad. Maybe it is everything you say, but not saying why you make that judgement leaves you open to the accusation that your antipathy about Trump guarantees your response, no matter what is in it.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/30/2020 - 09:21 am.


      A few of us here, who you occasionally have pleasant disagreement with, are getting together to create a new master development plan for your neighborhood. We see lots of big box stores, fast food drive thrus and a new industrial park focused on lead smelting recycling.

      You will love it!

      As soon as we are done we’ll let you know our plans in our roll out announcement.

      That is the essence of the Trump / Netanyahu plan. It does not take a great effort to see the flaws here.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/30/2020 - 11:43 am.

        Well played, sir.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 01/30/2020 - 12:21 pm.

        Well, if that is indeed the plan, to make Palestine a colony of American corporate, I am not surprised by the idiocy of Trump and ilk. All hail corporate oligarchs, our Lord’s and savior’s, and their holy of holies market?

        That said, I still hold Eric Black accountable for his journalism. Empty opinionating doesn’t do me much good, nor service to understanding. If he had shown how this is just a corporate benevolence from above arrangement for the wage enslavement of Palestinians, I wouldn’t have objected.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/30/2020 - 04:28 pm.

          “Empty opinionating doesn’t do me much good”

          That’s the crazy thing about opinion columns, they express opinions…

          And, I should add, the only thing that keeps me coming back to MINNPOST is Eric Black’s opinions and the wild and crazy reactions to them.

          Thanks Eric, and even you William….

  9. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 01/29/2020 - 10:11 pm.

    Probably no Nobel Peace prize for the President, but he already has had as much success as all other Presidents who invested years and millions of dollars to get the same result. Reader Barnes has a point, these are all big people, why don’t we let them figure it out themselves? It has only been hundreds of years, who are we to judge?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/30/2020 - 11:46 am.

      Does the figuring out themselves include ending the billions the US gives to Israel every year?

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 01/30/2020 - 06:22 pm.

        That is exactly what it means. And the dollars to every other Middle Eastern nation. Cites please on your “billions per year” figure though, just for the record.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/31/2020 - 11:11 am.

          Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $142.3 billion (current, or noninflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although from 1971 to 2007 Israel also received significant economic

          In 2016, the U.S. and Israeli governments signed a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid,
          covering FY2019 to FY2028. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States pledges to provide $38 billion in military aid ($33 billion in Foreign Military Financing grants plus $5 billion in missile defense appropriations) to Israel. This MOU replaced a previous $30 billion 10-year agreement, which ran through FY2018.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/30/2020 - 05:20 pm.

      “It has only been hundreds of years, who are we to judge?”

      Israel has existed as a nation for a little more than 70 years. Jewish-Muslim relations in the Ottoman Empire were relatively peaceful until the 19th century, when anti-Semitism was brought to the region by Christian Arabs.

      Large-scale Jewish settlement in the region dates from the late 19th century.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/03/2020 - 07:03 pm.

        And received a big boost from the U.S.Congressional immigration Act of 1922, which effectively restricted immigration from anyplace but northern Europe, leaving central European Jews in the 1930’s and ’40’s no alternative but Palestine. The early Zionists knew that would mean displacing the Arab inhabitants, but they saw no alternative.

  10. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/30/2020 - 07:11 am.

    Trump is all about the imposition of power. He thinks he can impose a settlement on the middle east, just as he thinks he can impose his will on America. I am not sure he is wrong in either case.

  11. Submitted by Raj Maddali on 01/30/2020 - 07:14 am.

    “I’m a Jew who has always hoped for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement with which both sides could live, that would allow Israel to live in peace with its neighbors and mitigate the harm done to the Palestinian Arabs.”

    Mr Black, why blame Trump and claim all this piety ? The path to apartheid (yes, its apartheid) was paved by Liberals (with the Palestine exception).

    Show us a single article by you that pointed out the con of Israeli settlements while Democrats lined up at Aipac year after year.

    Show us a single article where you raised the question of conditioning aid to Israel in the face of this con.

    Show us a single article where you questioned the role of leaders like Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer and Jane Harman (remember her NSA wiretaps) while they undermined American values and even undermined the Obama Administration

    Show us a single article where you questioned Amy Klobuchar and her support of a law that everyone knows is in violation of the First Amendment

    Trump is presiding over the carcass of a Palestinian homeland eaten by Israel settlers paid for and coddled by Democrats. You blaming him is like one team member on the Washington Generals blaming another for not scoring enough in their loss to the GlobeTrotters.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/30/2020 - 09:42 am.

      “The path to apartheid (yes, its apartheid) was paved by Liberals (with the Palestine exception).”
      Support please? Last check there have been many R & D administrations since 1948!

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/30/2020 - 12:39 pm.

      One difference between Trump and prior Democratic (and Republican) administrations is that the Palestinians were actually part of the discussion in those cases. There were fair (or fairer) proposals brought in good faith.

      • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 01/31/2020 - 07:50 am.

        In Minnesota, if i’m buying a used car, at least i’m given full disclosure as to what i’m getting into. Would you care to point me to actual documents as to what was offered ? And no not what they said, or Bill Clinton said.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/31/2020 - 03:05 pm.

          There have been many plans offered over the years, all of which were better than this nonsense. Here is a Clinton plan:

          And a Bush the 2nd plan:

          • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 01/31/2020 - 05:51 pm.

            A) Clinton Plan- The Bantustan option, where Israelis wouldn’t even provide a map.

            the Israelis were to make clear which reasonable needs they had in specific areas; without a map, the percentages given were also ambiguous, as the Israelis did not include all disputed land or part of the Dead Sea, and it was unclear where the 80% proportion of settlers would remain. All Israeli settlers taken together occupied around 1.8% of the West Bank. The Palestinian concerns about lack of contiguity were largely related to Israeli control over large swaths of land in key development areas such as Jerusalem and Bethlehem, due to the large settlement blocs. Palestinians would be unable to move without restriction within their own state

            b) Bush Plan – Endless Settlements. Good Karma against Endless Terrorism.

            By the end of 2003, the Palestinian Authority had not prevented Palestinian terrorism, and Israel had neither withdrawn from Palestinian areas occupied since 28 September 2000, nor frozen settlement expansion. Thus the requirements of Phase I of the Roadmap were not fulfilled, and the Roadmap has not continued further. It eventually reached deadlock.

            Bantustans and Endless settlements. Both great peace offerings.

  12. Submitted by Raj Maddali on 01/30/2020 - 07:44 am.

    The article by Peter Beinart shows how Joe Biden completely supported apartheid in Israel by undercutting Obama many a time.

    It also writes how Joe Biden withheld aid from the Palestinians. Wait a minute “withheld aid”, I thought that was an impeachable offense ? Aaah the hypocrisy….

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 01/30/2020 - 09:04 am.

      Um, it actually doesn’t write about Biden withholding aid. What Beinard does write is that “While Biden was vice president, Congress repeatedly withheld US aid to the PA.”

      Otherwise I share your view that Biden’s apparent support for the Netanyahu administration is bad policy.

      • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 01/30/2020 - 11:40 am.

        ” In 2006, he cosponsored a bill that halted aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it recognized Israel as the PLO did in 1993.”

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/30/2020 - 12:33 pm.

          You have convinced me.

          Your “truer” friends are the Rs and Donald Trump.

          And I am sure you join him in trying to run off noisy rabble rousers like AOC, Omar and Talib.

          And of course, also old has beens like Jimmy Carter and his crazy ideas for Mideast solutions:

          Looking forward to those Making Palestine Great Again hats…

          • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 01/31/2020 - 07:45 am.

            “Your “truer” friends are the Rs and Donald Trump.”

            A new generation of Democrats, like Butteigig, Yang, Ohmar, Pressley etc thank you for nominating Hillary Clinton. Had she been President instead of the new generation, the Democrat Party would have had Clinton Hack1 , Clinton Hack2, Clinton Hack3…..

            Jimmy Carter and his crazy ideas. Yeah like some of those most sucessful peace treaties in the Middle East, refusing to go to war with Iran. I mean how batty could those ideas be.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/31/2020 - 03:18 pm.

              Your outlook is very strange here, Raj. You are critical of Democrats for being too soft on Israel. But you seem to prefer Trump’s policy- which outrageously hostile to the Palestinians, while rejecting (or denying the existence of) plans by prior administrations that were far more favorable to Palestinians.

              • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 01/31/2020 - 04:43 pm.

                Loosing has its advantages. It has brought out a fresh crop of democrats.

                I don’t prefer Trump. Just as Trumps victory highlighted Democrats apathy towards blue collar workers (NAFTA, China etc), Trumps “peace plan” also highlights the fact that Democrats proposed nothing, demanded nothing and were actually in collusion with the same actors (AIPAC etc)

                Its not a question of being soft on Israel. In their own way by sucking up to AIPAC they enabled the destruction of the Palestinian state. In eventual outcomes, Biden, Klobuchar and their lip service to “global peace” were just as harmful if not more. Their double talk has given rise to rising questions of their motives within the Democratic party itself.

                Trump helps people like us highlight the obvious.There’s a reason Biden, Klobuchar are stuck/stagnant in the polls. Their endless milquetoast talk in the past have highlighted them as do nothings.

                Wonder why Bernie leads ?

                • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/01/2020 - 02:41 am.

                  Its debatable whether Bernie leads, but in any event he and Biden are within a few points of each other. I doubt that Israel and Palestine are driving much, if any of that.

                  I think that Clinton (and Bush) made good faith efforts to try to resolve this dispute. The fact they failed doesn’t make them do-nothings. They didn’t have to try. They did anyway.

                  • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 02/02/2020 - 07:44 am.

                    Not limited to the I-P debate, but characterizes their political careers. Clinton made a good faith effort to get a Nobel Prize, but when push came to shove he , along with Obama, got shoved around by AIPAC and their lobbies. After all unlike Trump , as wrong as he may be, stood for something.

                    That’s what people notice. If one gets out of the Democratic bubble that is.

                    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/03/2020 - 07:05 pm.

                      And those whom the Lord would destroy he leads to Trump.

                    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 02/04/2020 - 09:04 am.

                      For you shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces; for you neither enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are about to go in to do so.

            • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/31/2020 - 10:14 pm.

              Read a little closer please.

              I am saying the best Presidential ally you have had in history is Jimmy Carter. So rather than spending your time attacking those on the left who rarely fulfill your expectations, instead focus on those on the right who never fulfill your expectations.

              • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 02/02/2020 - 07:52 am.

                You may want to actually read what you wrote about Jimmy Carter and his “crazy” ideas. Now you to backtrack cause i pointed out they were actually succesfull.

                Not voting for hacks has had its positives. It has started to give rise to a new generation of politicians. Those that you don’t agree with, that is. And they question our current policies. You’re welcome to keep nominating for the same old hacks.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/30/2020 - 12:34 pm.

          Do you think recognizing Israel’s right to exist is too much to ask? It seems like a pretty basic starting point if you are actually interested in negotiating.

          • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 01/31/2020 - 07:41 am.

            “Do you think recognizing Israel’s right to exist is too much to ask? ”

            Loaded question time.

            Or is it that the Google search engine is having issues. Cause I see that the PLO made that recognition about two decades ago. I can understand that some people can’t see that on Google.

            I’m having the same problem with Google. My search of Joe Biden demanding the recognition of Palestines’ right to exist” or demanding a halt to settlements comes up with nothing.

            I think AIPAC has influence Google and not Joe Biden. He represents American values of even handedness

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/31/2020 - 03:15 pm.

              You need to work on your google skills. Joe Biden has called for a Palestinian state many times, including as recently as a speech on Wednesday.

              The Palestinian Authority – which is controlled by Fatah – did recognize Israel for a long time, but withdrew that recognition in 2018. Hamas – which controls the Gaza strip and whose conflicts with Fatah have been far more deadly than either entity’s conflicts with Israel – has never recognized Israel. Until recently, its charter called for the destruction of Israel.

              • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 02/03/2020 - 03:07 pm.

                “Biden has called for a Palestinian state many times, including as recently as a speech on Wednesday.”

                The most milquetoast claim which means the same as calling for “world peace”. He has never demanded that settlements be stopped or that aid be conditional.

                Even Trump calls for “world peace”

        • Submitted by Brian Simon on 01/30/2020 - 02:39 pm.

          Your point would be clearer without the snark. In 2006 Joe Biden was a Senator, which is part of Congress, which sets the federal budget, including whether or not to give foreign aid. To conflate that with the opposite case, in which Congress defined aid for Ukraine which President Trump delayed (for which he was subsequently impeached), entirely obscures your point. If you’re trying to convert others to your view, I suggest changing tactics.

  13. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/30/2020 - 09:18 am.

    Did anyone expect a serious, workable plan to come from this Administration?

    The plan basically gives Israel everything it wants, by ratifying the settlements and territorial expansion that had been done in violation of international law. In return, the Palestinians get some control over a fragmented set of pieces of territory – no statehood, no real sovereignty, nothing that could seriously be called a nation. There is also some talk about business investment (yes, a Trump promise that money will be paid. Stop laughing), but that is an aspiration without a firm agreement.

    I would say this is yet more evidence of the rank incompetence of an Administration that could screw up a two-car funeral, but the whole thing seems to be deliberate. The only question is, should the world feel insulted by the implicit assumption that we are to take this seriously?

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/30/2020 - 11:35 pm.

      If Trump were to host a basketball game between Israel and Palestine, the refs would come out in striped shirts and Yamakas.

      My earlier, unwavering support for Israel has waned in recent years as it is obvious if we are to have any influence in a Mideast peace we can’t show up in one team’s jersey and tell the other: “Trust us”.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/31/2020 - 09:27 pm.

        Actually the correct spelling is ‘yarmulkes’. Yamakas is the way we pronounced in in Noo Yawk.
        And the current term is ‘kippot’ (singular ‘kippah’).

  14. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/05/2020 - 05:26 am.

    The thought has occurred to me that the Palestinian people are being punished for not waging a campaign of violence against Israel.

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