'Peace to Prosperity' plan shatters failed Oslo paradigm
February 7, 2020
(JNS)—With the presentation of its peace plan, titled, “Peace to Prosperity: A vision to improve the lives of the Palestinian and Israeli people,” the United States has essentially shattered the once-holy Oslo paradigm, having learned from the peace process’s failures and establishes a new path forward to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Israel and the Palestinians have been locked in a diplomatic holding pattern conditioned on future Israeli withdrawals from territories central to its biblical heritage and vital to its security, while receiving little in return. The Palestinians refused to even recognize that Israel is a Jewish state.
The Oslo process granted the Palestinians administrative and security control of key territory, an education system and media, and trillions of dollars in international funding, all while maintaining that any Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria represented an illegal occupation. All subsequent attempts to advance the peace process were predicated on Israel’s previous offers as the starting point of any new negotiations. The Palestinians understood that there was no downside to rejecting any of Israel’s offers; they could simply push for a better deal down the road.
The proposal currently being advanced by the Trump administration corrects fundamental flaws of past negotiation attempts, specifically because it is predicated on the probability that the Palestinians may ultimately reject it.
Yet the plan allows the Palestinians ample time to “think it over.” It commits Israel not to build on any territories being allocated for a future Palestinian state for the next four years. The clause justifies rolling out the plan just weeks prior to Israel’s upcoming election, and six months before a fateful American national election. (The U.S. administration had hoped to release the plan much earlier and would have if not for Israel’s electoral impasse.)
The four-year moratorium allows just enough time to give U.S. President Donald Trump, if he wins a second term, the opportunity to shift past the current offer should Palestinian rejectionism continue.
At the end of a second term, Trump could justifiably impose additional consequences on the Palestinians should they still choose to reject the generous offer on the table. It is completely possible that Trump—fed up with Palestinians’ stubborn refusal to take an offer deeply rooted in facts on the ground, plus $50 billion in financial incentives—might then back Israeli annexation of much more territory than the plan currently outlines.
That unstated contingency provides backing to Trump’s assertion that “this may be the last opportunity the Palestinians ever get” to declare a state. If the Palestinians reject this offer, they may find that there is no disputed land left for a state in the future.
Also, unlike previous negotiation attempts, the plan also requires the Palestinians to behave like a state before they can declare one. That means they must recognize Israel as a Jewish state; freeze all “pay-to-slay” payments to terrorists and their families; remove all calls to incitement from all educational curricula and state-run media; create fully transparent and corruption-free financial governance mechanisms; and completely disarm terror groups in what must be a fully demilitarized West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The requirements are a tall order for the current pseudo-state whose leaders have been encouraging and financially incentivizing terrorism since before Oslo was signed and who have cultivated an industry of government corruption, repeatedly siphoning off international funding for personal benefit and terror financing.
Nevertheless, failing to fulfill any of the plan’s requirements will essentially invalidate future Palestinian land rights under the proposal. The plan requires that both the United States as well as the State of Israel jointly certify that the requirements have been fulfilled before any Israeli land concessions are made. This joint certification requirement protects against the possibility of a post-Trump administration unilaterally asserting that these conditions have been met.
Alex Traiman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and the Jerusalem bureau chief of the Jewish News Syndicate.