Democrats divide over Israel on display in reactions to Trump ‘peace plan’

Standing in The White House with the recently indicted Prime Minister of Israel by his side, Donald Trump unveiled his “peace plan” today. As suspected, it’s a boon to Netanyahu, Christian Zionists, and right-wing supporters of Israel. As suspected, it also sells the Palestinians out and demands that they make impossible concessions in order to achieve statehood.

Reactions from Washington are now beginning to trickle in. Here’s Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) on Twitter:

The so-called Trump “peace plan” will only lead to more division and conflict. Claiming to advance peace without the involvement of one party to the conflict is a diplomatic hoax that undermines the chance of a genuine two-state solution. It’s an “anti-peace” plan. Timing is everything here. The Trump plan is not about advancing peace. It’s a deliberately timed ploy to interfere in the Israeli elections by distracting attention from Netanyahu’s formal indictment for bribery today and to divert from Trump’s impeachment proceedings. This one-sided proposal is a cynical maneuver calculated to be rejected by the Palestinians and then green-light illegal annexation. It undermines decades of bipartisan U.S. policy and international law. Far from the “deal of the century” this is the “disaster of the decade.”


“Don’t be fooled,” tweeted Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), “What Donald Trump is proposing is a ‘two-state solution’ in name only, not lasting peace that will protect Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people or fulfill Palestinians’ aspirations for self-determination.”

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) said he had expressed his concerns about the plan to Trump Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman before the plan was publicly announced:

I met this morning at the White House with Jared Kushner and Ambassador Friedman. I appreciate the meeting. I gave them my unvarnished opinion on their so-called “peace plan”, which in reality is a total abandonment of decades of U.S. Middle East policy. Here’s what I told them:

1/ This plan was negotiated with no one but the Israelis, and thus it’s not a peace plan at all. Peace can only be achieved through agreement between Israel and the Palestinian people. By setting these new terms, it makes it harder for Israel to compromise later.

2/ Any claim that this plan envisions a Palestinian state is just false. The plan allows Israel to control all security matters inside the Palestinian “state”, and thus it’s not a state at all.

3/ The unilateral annexation of the Jordan River valley and existing settlements, deemed illegal under U.S. and international law, will set back the peace process decades. And it risks real violence and massive destabilization inside places like Jordan.

4/ I remain a devoted supporter of Israel and our commitment to their security and defense. But this proposal compromises the long term security of both Israel and the United States. That’s why I oppose it.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) shared a tweet from J Street that dismissed the plan as annexation. “This is not a peace plan,” wrote Omar, “It is theft. It is erasure.”

That J Street post was also retweeted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) retweeted a post from human rights attorney Noura Erakat on the topic:

Massachusetts Senator, and Democratic presidential hopeful, Elizabeth Warren also criticized the proposal on Twitter and said it amounted to annexation. “Trump’s ‘peace plan’ is a rubber stamp for annexation and offers no chance for a real Palestinian state,” she tweeted, “Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a sham. I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form—and reverse any policy that supports it.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders also chimed in:

The United States can bring unequaled leadership to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we must use that leadership to promote a just and durable agreement. Any acceptable peace deal must be consistent with international law and multiple UN resolutions. It must end the Israeli occupation and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent state of their own alongside a secure Israel. Trump’s so-called ‘peace deal’ doesn’t come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict. It is unacceptable.

In contrast to these criticisms, some pro-Israel Democrats offered more positive assessments of the plan. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that there are “some areas of common ground.” “If there’s a possibility for peace we want to give it a chance,” she said. “One of the expressions I always like to use is the devil is in the detail: We’ve seen the proposal, I haven’t looked at it extensively. There’s some good room for hope there,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) after reading a two-page summary of the plan.

“Certainly, it seems to preserve that possibility of a two-state solution,” said Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), “The president spoke openly about a Palestinian state, he also spoke at length about meeting Israel’s security needs, I believe and hope conversation can continue and lead to negotiations between the parties.”

Trump has called on Palestinians to back the plan, but it’s been completely rejected by the country’s leadership. “After the nonsense that we heard today we say a thousand no’s to the Deal of The Century,” declared Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

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