JOINT STATEMENT ON TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PEACE PLAN

The unveiling of the so called “Deal of the Century” is yet another disgraceful act by the Trump Administration.   A “deal” implies a level playing field whereby two parties reach an agreement for their mutual benefit.  But this so-called Deal is nothing more than an attempt by President Trump to impose an extremist Israeli agenda on the behest of his Zionist supporters.  This Administration’s policy towards the Palestinians is not based on any moral or legal principles, and it harms the US’s national interest. Trump’s policy is based on political expediency to appease President Trump’s Zionist supporters, especially the billionaire Sheldon Adelson, whom he expects to bankroll Trump’s re-election campaign. The timing of presenting this plan is peculiar, and it comes at a time when the President is being tried in the Senate to remove him from office for his corrupt behavior, while at the same time providing a distraction to the legal proceedings to prosecute Prime Minister Netanyahu in three criminal cases. As Dr. Hanan Ashrawi stated, this is a “lethal diversionary tactic at the expense of Palestinian rights and international law.”

The so-called Deal is a violation of International Law by attempting to legitimize the illegal Israeli settlements.  As the occupying power, Israel must abide by the norms of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) governing situations of belligerent occupation, particularly the 1907 Hague Regulations and Geneva Convention IV (GC IV).  As part of its obligations, Israel is forbidden under Article 49 GC IV from forcefully transferring or deporting the local population from the occupied territory, or from transferring or deporting its own population into the occupied territory.  The establishment and continued development of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, are clearly in violation of  international law, and amounts to a war crime (rule 156; ICC Statute, art. 8(2)(b)(viii)).   It has also been the long-standing policy of past US administrations that Israel’s settlement policy is indeed a violation of International Law and an impediment to peace.   A month before President Trump took office, Barack Obama, whose administration referred to settlements as “illegitimate” became the first U.S. president to withhold a veto from one of countless U.N. resolutions that described Israeli Settlements as “a flagrant violation under International Law”.    It is this type of diplomatic approach that enhances the credibility of the United States in being an honest broker in peace-making.  President Trump’s belligerent attempt to impose this so-called Deal clearly undermines the credibility of the US in peace-making and such a Deal is doomed to failure, since it does not address the inalienable rights and political aspirations of the Palestinian people.

For over 70 years, the Palestinian people have remained steadfast and resilient in the face of Israel’s brutal occupation.  There can never be peace unless the Palestinian people obtain their full rights, freedom and independence.   We, therefore, call upon our fellow Americans to reject the Trump Administration’s Charade of the Century and instead support a real peace agreement that enables both Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace and security.