Canada’s new Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne made a very cautious statement about Trump’s “Deal of the Century”. He avoided referring to it as a “peace” plan, or to its claim that the deal would create a Palestinian State. He said he would “examine the details”. For the minister’s benefit, CTIP offers a quick summary of the plan… Read more..
“Canada recognizes the urgent need to renew efforts toward a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and will carefully examine the details of the U.S. initiative for the Middle East peace process,” wrote Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne in a carefully written press release.
The Minister’s statement implies that his department has not yet studied or formed an opinion on Trump’s 181 page “Deal” (official title: “Peace to Prosperity: A vision to improve the lives of the Palestinian and Israeli people“) which has been angrily denounced by all Palestinian parties, and many human rights organizations. The list of critics even includes some liberal Jewish ones. Not surprisingly, it has been praised by all of Israel’s political leaders and by the Jewish establishment in Canada like CIJA and Bnai Brith.
For the Minister – CTIP offers a 10 point summary of the “Deal”
To help Minister Champagne make up his mind on the substance of the “Deal”, CTIP offers this quick summary of some of its key elements. Notwithstanding its official claim to be a “peace plan” it does not take much examination to see that its proposals amount to a complete victory for Israel, and a complete capitulation for the Palestinians. It is a plan of conquest – not peace – and not one that any Palestinian leader could accept.
Here are ten of its main provisions:
- Expansion of Israel’s Borders: Israel’s borders will now extend to the Jordan river. In the process, Israel will gain another 20% of the West Bank. It will give up some mostly uninhabited desert land in the Negev near the Gaza-Egypt border. Israel will retain sovereignty over territorial waters, which means not only that it will control access to Gaza, but also the subsea resources (chiefly natural gas) off the Mediterranean coast.
- Exclusive Israeli control over Jerusalem: Palestinians will have to accept that all of Jerusalem (“undivided”) is Israel’s Capital and under Israeli control, including the Old City. Palestinians will be allowed to keep some land on the periphery of East Jerusalem and call it their “capital”. (In Canadian terms, “we will take Ottawa as our capital and you can have Barrhaven“).
- Settlements: Israel will annex the Jordan Valley and claim sovereignty over 100 Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This includes 15 isolated settlements, which will be enclaves within an eventual Palestinian state. The Israeli military will have access to these isolated settlements.
- Israeli military control: Israel will be in control of security from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The IDF will be able to go anywhere in the West Bank and Gaza.
- Right of return denied for almost all refugees. Over half the Palestinian population are refugees – between 5 and 7 million people. They are the descendants of non Jews (Muslim and Christian) who were driven out of what became Israel in 1947/48. But according to the plan only a small number of Palestinian refugees and their descendants will be allowed into the new Palestinian “state”. None will have the right to enter Israel. The rest will have to give up the idea of return, despite the fact that it is guaranteed in international law.
- A Palestinian “quasi” state – “eventually? maybe?”. The plan does not include immediate recognition of a Palestinian state; rather, it holds out the prospect of a future Palestinian “State” – eventually, and under certain conditions. But this state is unlike any other state in the world. It will be a strange collection of separate “areas” cut off from each other by Israeli only roads, and pockmarked by Israeli settlements which will be Israeli territory. The Palestinian state would have no territorial contiguity, and the parts of the West Bank will be connected via 12 tunnels or bridges. Israel will maintain control of all its borders. The West Bank and Gaza Strip will be connected by a 20 km tunnel.
- Some Palestinian Israelis could lose Israeli citizenship: The plan leaves open the possibility that Israel will redraw its borders to exclude several large Palestinian towns now on Israel’s borders. By including them in the future Palestinian “state”, Israel would reduce the number of non Jews in Israel by several hundred thousand.
- An end to resistance: Trump also called for the disarmament of Palestinian political factions like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and “firm rejection of terrorism” as a requirement for Palestinian statehood. Palestinians would give up their right to defend their homes and schools from attacks by settlers, for example. The plan also demands that the Palestinians drop their request that the International Criminal Court investigate Israel for “crimes against humanity”.
- Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State: Palestinians would be required to recognize Israel as the Jewish State, and accept that the Israeli border will be along the Jordan valley. Israeli citizens who are not Jewish (i.e. Palestinian citizens of Israel who number 1.5 million) will have to accept permanently their situation as second class citizens with fewer rights than those of Jewish Israeli citizens.
- Promises of new investment and job creation: The plan holds out the lure of 50 billion dollars in investments over 10 years. “Over the next 10 years, 1 million great new Palestinian jobs will be created,” Trump promised, adding that the poverty rate will be cut in half, and the Palestinian GDP will “double and triple.” He did not say who would pony up the money, however. The implication seems to be that it would come from other Arab states, though none offered to do so.
Notwithstanding its official claim to be a “peace plan” it does not take much examination to see that its proposals amount to a complete victory for Israel, and a complete capitulation for the Palestinians. It is a plan of conquest – not peace – and not one that any Palestinian leader could accept. It would be very difficult to find ANY Palestinian, or human rights advocate who would think that this is “fair” or a “peace deal”.
What will Canada’s assessment of the plan be?
Will Minister Champagne dare to criticize (or make any comment) on the Trump plan after he “examines the details”?
In addition to asking Palestinian Canadians, international lawyers, UN experts like Professor Michael Lynk who is the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, who called the plan “lopsided”, he might want to check with a non Zionist Jewish organization like Independent Jewish Voices Canada, or even a liberal Zionist organization like Canadian Friends of Peace Now (CFPN).
CFPN was scathing in its assessment, calling the plan the “sham of the century.” CFPN said the plan is “guaranteed to exacerbate rather than resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The plan pays lip-service to a two-state solution, but, at the same time, green lights immediate Israeli annexation of the entire Jordan Valley and the extension of Israeli sovereignty to settlements in the West Bank.” The group characterized the plan with terms such as dangerous, “one-sided” and “double speak.”
CTIP does not agree with Zionism of course and we often disagree with CFPN. But on this point, CTIP feels obliged to agree.
NEXT WEEK – Trump isn’t stupid. So why is he proposing a plan that he knows won’t be accepted?
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