Critics of Trump’s Middle East “Peace Plan” in the capitalist media claim he has given Israel everything it wants.
Trump says he is just being realistic, recognising the reality on the ground. Trump is correct — he has given Israel nothing it did not already have, except United States official recognition and approval of that reality.
What the critics don’t like is that Trump has exposed their hypocritical pretense that there is something to be gained by Palestinians “negotiating” with Israel for a “two state” solution — a fig leaf, chimera and fakery that never got off the ground.
Trump has given the green light to Israel’s annexation of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the critics say. But these have always been part of Israel. The settlers vote in Israeli elections. They are protected by the Israeli armed forces. They are connected by roads to “green line” Israel that only Israelis may use, separating Palestinians into chopped up portions of the West Bank.
The critics also say Trump has allowed Israel to annex the land in the West Bank bordering Jordan. However, the Israeli army had already taken over that land. The borders the Israeli armed forces defend include the borders with Jordan, Egypt (with the exception of the small border with Gaza, which Egypt patrols for Israel), Syria and Lebanon. The Mediterranean border with Gaza is strictly controlled by the Israeli navy, which won’t even allow humanitarian aid in.
These are the real borders of Israel at present, not the “green line”, which is the pre-1967 “internationally recognised border”. Israel never accepted the “green line” as its border. When Israel was established in 1947 by the United Nations, it was given the majority of Palestine. At the time, the Zionists openly stated that they accepted this land, but not as their final border, only a stepping stone to capturing all the land of biblical Israel, “Eratz Yisrael”.
Trump has recognised the reality on the ground. But how did that present reality come into existence?
Trump has put in place the finishing touches on what Western imperialism has constructed over the past century (and for the past half century mainly the US) to back Zionism’s project.
The reality that is present-day Israel consists of the borders the Israeli armed forces control and defend and the entire land between those borders. Within those borders, there is a single army, air force and navy. There is one foreign policy: that of the Israeli government. There is one currency: the Israeli shekel. There is one official language: Hebrew. In every aspect, there is one state in this territory, and its name is Israel.
Within this single state, there are about 4.7 million stateless Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. They have no say in the policies of their rulers. That makes Israel an apartheid state. There are Palestinians within the green line, who are citizens of Israel, but second-class citizens.
Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Law adopted by the Israeli parliament (Knesset) in 2018, made it crystal clear that no Palestinian state would ever be allowed. It refers to the state as “Eratz Yisrael”, and says it is the state of all the Jews, and refers to Jews living outside as exiles who are urged to be “gathered” into Israel.
What its final borders will be is somewhat vague, but the present land Israel rules will be included within them. Biblical Israel includes Sinai (the desert region in Egypt between the Red and the Mediterranean Seas), so more land may be included.
The Law says that “The actualization of the right to self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people”, so Palestinians have no right to a state of their own.
It says that Hebrew is the language of the state, with Arabic given special status, and that “the regulation of the Arab language in state institutions … will be regulated by [Israeli] law”.
Both US Democratic and Republican politicians accept this as part of Israel’s law.
This reality is the culmination of Western imperialist support for the Zionist aims in Palestine at the expense of the indigenous population. Following the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the League of Nations assigned Palestine to Britain. In 1917, the British government promised to establish a Jewish state in Palestine.
Following World War II, the UN, over the objections of all the Arab countries, established Israel in the majority of the Palestinian territory. This led to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and the exodus of a large number of Palestinians, creating the Palestinian diaspora. Palestinians have always demanded that these Palestinians and their descendants be allowed to return to their homeland.
Israel has always rejected any Palestinian right of return. Trump has now put his stamp of approval on the Israeli position.
In the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Syria, Israel captured the remaining 22% of Palestine, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where it has ruled for 53 years. It also captured the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria.
Gaza is not free of Israeli control. Every so often Israel “mows the lawn” in horrific military actions against Gaza, causing massive destruction. It has complete control over how much food, water, electricity and construction materials the people of Gaza are allowed — to the point where the Strip is nearly unlivable.
In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched an invasion of Sinai and the Golan Heights to retake the territories Israel had captured from them in 1967. Israel hoped for a quick victory, since the US had built up its military to the most powerful in the region. Israel planned to drive even further into Egypt and Syria, under the false pretext that it was under attack.
However, the US and Israel were stunned when the Egyptian army drove deep into Sinai. The US responded with a massive airlift of heavy arms to Israel, from bases in the US and Europe. This turned the tide, and the Israeli army was able to surround Egypt’s Third Army in Sinai, and threatened to annihilate it.
The Soviet Union, an ally of Egypt, threatened to intervene to save the Egyptian army. This led to a confrontation between the US and the USSR. At a meeting between US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev, Kissinger threatened nuclear war against the Soviet Union.
A ceasefire returned the situation to the pre-war one, and the Third Army was allowed to return to Egypt.
The US supported Israel in the 1948, 1967 and 1973 wars. In addition to spending tens of billions of dollars to build up Israel’s military, Washington also helped Israel develop a nuclear arsenal — with an estimated 100–200 warheads — that still threatens the region today.
“During the last several decades, as Israel slowly took over the West Bank, putting more than 600,000 settlers in occupied territory,” wrote the International Crisis Group’s Arab-Israeli Project director Nathan Thrall in the New York Times, “the US provided Israel with diplomatic backing and billions of dollars in annual aid.
“The Trump plan merely puts the finishing touches on a house that American lawmakers, Republican and Democrats alike, spent dozens of years to build,” he said.
Some of the Democrats running for president have spoken against the annexations, but propose nothing to stop them, much less reverse the de facto annexations.
“Israel’s defenders like to say that Israel is being singled out, and they are right,” Thrall said.
“Israel is the only state perpetuating a permanent military occupation, with discriminatory laws for separate groups living in the same territory, that self-identified liberals around the world go out of their way to justify, defend and even fund.
“In the absence of advocating policies with actual teeth, the Democratic critics of the Trump plan are not much better than the president. They are, not in words but in deeds, supporters of annexation and subjugation, too.”