The Kushner compromise?
March 1, 2019
(JNS)—The precise details of the forthcoming Trump administration Mideast peace plan are not yet known, but the basic principle was declared by senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner at last week’s Warsaw conference.
“Both sides will have to make compromises,” he said.
Kushner’s statement follows numerous similar statements by American officials, including the president himself. In his Feb. 9, 2017 interview with Israel Hayom, U.S. President Donald Trump said: “I think that both sides will have to make significant compromises in order for achieving a peace deal to be possible.”
That was followed by a report in The Jerusalem Post on Feb. 20, 2018, quoting Kushner and the administration’s other top Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, saying that “both sides are going to love some of [the plan] and hate some of it.” And then-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a Feb. 22, 2017 speech in Chicago: “The plan won’t be loved by either side. And it won’t be hated by either side.”
Let’s take a closer look at what the both-sides-have-to-compromise approach means, both in principle and in practice.
In principle, the idea that Israel should have to make additional “compromises” is outrageously unfair. Since the day the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, all Israel has done is make “compromises” to appease the Palestinian Authority:
• Israel allowed the creation of an almost-sovereign P.A. regime in 40 percent of Judea-Samaria.
• Israel expelled all Jews from Gaza (and four Jewish communities from Samaria), leading to the establishment of a de facto Hamas state in Gaza.
• Every Israeli government has refrained from authorizing the creation of even a single new Jewish community in Judea-Samaria (except for a still-planned town to house Jewish refugees from other communities).
• Prime Minister Netanyahu froze all Jewish construction in Judea-Samaria for ten months, and has repeatedly limited Jewish construction in the territories during other periods.
• Israel has refrained from actively challenging the P.A.’s wanton violations of the accords, such as the P.A.’s refusal to disarm, outlaw and extradite terrorists.
In exchange for all these compromises, what has Israel received? Twenty-five years of suicide bombings, rockets and flaming kites. Twenty-five years of firebombing, stonings and lynchings. Twenty-five years of anti-Semitic incitement. An entire generation of young Palestinian Arabs raised to hate and kill Jews. Thus, the Trump-Kushner-Greenblatt demand that Israel should now make additional “compromises” is absurdly unfair.
Now let’s consider what more “Israeli compromises” will mean in practical terms.
Right now, the P.A. has total control over the cities in Judea-Samaria that contain 98 percent of the Arab population. Tulkarm is the third largest of those cities; Qalqilya is the fifth largest.
I’m singling those two out because if you look at the map, you see they are located on the far western edge of P.A. territory. They are a little more than nine miles from the Mediterranean Sea. In other words, there are just nine miles of Israel between Tulkarm and the Mediterranean Sea.
Obviously, the P.A. is never going to agree to those cities becoming part of Israel. Tulkarm and Qalqilya will be under Palestinian rule forever. The only question is whether that will be under the current P.A. regime, or in a full-fledged “State of Palestine.”
We don’t know exactly what “Israeli compromises” the Trump plan will demand. But they obviously will involve moving closer to a Palestinian state. Because there’s nothing else left on which Israel could “compromise.” And there’s nothing else the P.A. would ever consider. Certainly, Trump and Kushner are not going to put forward a plan if there is zero chance the Palestinians will even consider it.
All of which means that according to simple logic, “Israeli compromises” must involve Israel moving closer to the creation of “Palestine,” which will include Tulkarm and Qalqilya, and which therefore would reduce Israel to nine miles wide at its mid-section. That’s not even as wide as Washington, D.C., or the Bronx.
A country that size could be cut in two by an enemy army in a matter of minutes. Planes landing at Ben-Gurion Airport would be within range of a terrorist with a shoulder-fired rocket, standing inside the border of the new Palestinian state. And Israeli mothers strolling with baby carriages in Jerusalem could be targeted by Arab snipers—as they were before June 1967.
Which is why American Jewish and Zionist organizations should not be sitting quietly on their hands, “waiting to see” what exactly the Trump Mideast peace plan will say. All one needs is a little logic and common sense to understand that whatever the details, the essence of Trump’s plan will pose a great danger to Israel. We need to speak out now—to stop the plan from being put forward at all—because once it is unveiled, there will be a steamroller of pressure that could be impossible to stop.
Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” has just been published.