INTO THE FRAY: The Trump plan: The good, the bad, the unknown and…the untenable

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column

 The Trump plan: The good, the bad, the unknown and…the untenable

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Assessing the overall long-term merits of the “Deal of the Century” is a little like trying to hit a rapidly moving target


It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):

JERUSALEM HERALD:   (To be posted)
JEWISH PRESS:  (To be posted)


Several short excerpts

There was a wedding today. The groom showed up. The bride stayed home and wished the groom dead. And everyone clappedA caustic assessment of the “Deal of the Century”, attributed to Meir Jolovitz, Middle East Radio, Phoenix, AZ, courtesy of my Facebook friend, Jan Sniderman 

Over the years, I have …categorically opposed any notion entailing the establishment of a Palestinian state and any withdrawal from territory currently under Israel’s administration, west of the Jordan.

Given my past positions, I should, of course, vigorously reject the “Deal of the Century” as proposed last week by the Trump Administration, which does involve both these elements.

Significant benefits, grave detriments

Announcing the “Deal of the Century”: Premier Netanyahu and President Trump at White House

Indeed, the “Deal of the Century” offers Israel huge benefits that would have been unthinkable barely three years ago, but it also includes grave detriments that seriously undermine both its desirability from a partisan Israeli point of view, and its practicality from a more objective point of view.

So, the crucial consideration must be whether, in the long run, the overall beneficial impact of accumulated positive components outweighs (or is outweighed by) the overall detrimental impact of the accumulated negative components.

The basic elements

in the broadest of brush strokes, the basic elements of the “Deal”, as presented at the White House, were as follows:

Israeli Sovereignty: The US will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the major Jewish settlement blocs and over an undivided Jerusalem…

Security: Security in the entire area…will be under the control of the IDF for an indeterminant period of time.

Borders and Airspace: The external borders, airspace and electromagnetic spectrum are to remain under Israeli control.

Refugees: There will be no “Right of Return”

The basic elements (cont.) 

Mahmoud Abbas rejects the “Deal of the Century” with a 1000 No’s

… the “Deal” envisions any benefits to the Palestinian side as being both deferred and contingent on the fulfilment of a number of onerous conditions.

This, unsurprisingly, has elicited harsh responses from pro-Palestinian sources …it is not difficult grasp why the Palestinian-Arabs take such a dim view of the proposal, which an infuriated Mahmoud Abbas rejected with “a 1000 ‘no’s”…For although the “Deal” does trace a path to eventual Palestinian statehood on about 70% of Judea-Samaria… this depends on the Palestinian-Arab side complying with several significant provisos over a period of four years….

Is the “Deal” a good deal? 

So, on the surface, the “Deal” appears a highly advantageous one for Israel.

It entails immediate—or soon to be realized—enhancement of the standing of Jewish communities, entrenches Israel’s hold over the strategically vital Jordan Valley…Moreover, some astute analysts have very cogently pointed out that perhaps the greatest merit of the “Deal” is that it has upended the mendacious Palestinian narrative, which  hitherto has largely defined international attitudes to the conflict -see here, here, and here.

There are, however, other considerations that could countermand the accumulated advantages that the “Deal” heralds for Israel—or at least, severely erode their value.

Does the “Deal” address Israel’s twin imperatives

In this regard… for Israel to endure, in the long run, as the nation-state of the Jewish people, it must adequately address both its Geographic Imperative and its Demographic Imperative…Given the fact that the “Deal” stipulates that the IDF will remain deployed throughout the territory… it would appear that the Geographic Imperative is largely addressed.

With the Demographic Imperative, the situation is distinctly different. After all, according to the “Deal’s” parameters, the entire Arab population will remain in place west of Jordan…

Perpetuates rather than resolves?

The proposed “Deal of the Century” Map

So, whether or not the “Deal” is implemented, the reality will be that Israel will be left with a significant, inimical non-Jewish population within the territory, which it is obliged to control—at least militarily for its vital security needs. …So, whether it is actually implemented or not, the “Deal” cannot effectively address Israel’s demographic menace, but only perpetuate it.

The question of Gaza and succession

The “Deal” also called for the disarming of the terror groups in Gaza—chiefly Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Leaving aside the feasibility of such a worthy objective, let us suppose for a moment that it could be achieved. Then, how would a demilitarized Gaza, which abuts the Sinai, withstand any onslaughts for the Jihadi elements that abound in the peninsula…

No less grave is the question of the durability of the conditions prescribed by the “Deal”.
After all, even if, against all odds, the current Palestinian-Arab leadership agrees to accept the conditions prescribed for statehood, who can guarantee that it will not be replaced—by bullet or ballot—with far less amenable successors…

The question of cost & the Humanitarian alternative

Indeed, although the true cost of the “Deal” is not only unknown, but almost impossible to assess with any accuracy, one thing is beyond doubt. It will certainly carry a price tag that reaches into the tens of billions—to produce results that, at best, will be tenuous…

It is for this reason that, for the last decade and half, I have urged Israel to launch a large-scale initiative for the incentivized emigration of the Arab population of Judea-Samaria and Gaza as the only strategic measure that can adequately address both Israel’s Geographic and Demographic Imperatives. It is toward this end that the billions planned to be invested in the “Deal” should be channeled.

Epilogue: The “Deal” – What to do?

In the final analysis – what should Israel do?

My sense is that Israel should accept the “Deal”, secure in the knowledge it will be rejected by the Palestinians, who will not—indeed, cannot—comply with the conditions required of them—and thus reap, the tangible benefits it bestows it, with negligible risk of future Palestinian compliance. It should, however, do so before the upcoming March elections: For who knows whether a future coalition headed by Benny Gantz’s Blue & White would support such far-reaching unilateral moves by Israel.?

After all, there is no better time to strike the iron than when it is hot!

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,

Best wishes,




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