Trump’s ‘deal of the century’

 

Sir, – The publication of the nefarious Trump “peace plan” calls for an urgent review of the evidently hopeless approach which has been pursued in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian situation by the outgoing Government here. It could hardly have been more obvious to even a casual observer that the current political establishment in Israel is determined to plunder as much Palestinian land as possible, in flagrant violation of international law, with the ultimate goal of annexing it into Israeli territory. It is equally evident that the Trump administration has, from the outset, been determined to actively facilitate the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s overt efforts to do so.

And yet the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney informed the Seanad in 2018 that Mr Netanyahu “has told me that he is committed to negotiations [and] I believe him”. He also stated (no less than two months after the Trump administration recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital), that while “[m]any have given up on this conflict [the Trump] administration has not and that has the potential to be a positive thing.” This remarkable naivety is also reflected in the Tánaiste’s apparent belief that his countless mere statements condemning Israeli violations of international law along with those of his European counterparts will one day cause Israel to reverse course and become a law-abiding member of the international community.

It is long past time to recognise that words of condemnation unmatched by action serve only to embolden Israel in its relentless pursuit of a policy to defeat any hope of the Palestinian people realising their right to self-determination.

What Palestinians desperately need, and indeed what international law demands, is that the international community takes action of the kind prescribed by the Occupied Territories Bill which would ban trade with Israel’s illegal settlements. That this Bill, which was brought successfully through the Seanad by Senator Frances Black and introduced to the Dáil by Fianna Fáil, has the support of all parties bar Fine Gael gives cause for real hope that Ireland is on the cusp of taking such action.

Contrary to the message implicit in the Tánaiste’s opposition to this Bill, Ireland can lead an international movement which reaffirms the primacy of international law as the basis for bringing about a just peace in the Middle East. – Yours etc,

MARIE CRAWLEY,

Chairwoman,

Sadaka — the

Ireland Palestine Alliance,

Ballyshannon,

Co Donegal.

Sir, – At the time of writing, some 26 world leaders from as far afield as Australia, Colombia, Morocco and India have expressed their openness to the US administration’s vision for Middle East peace, including Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Given that Saudi Arabia made a point of mentioning its concern for their “Palestinian brothers”, it might be fair to assume they have a deeper insight of their kin’s plight than The Irish Times view on Donald Trump’s peace plan (Editorial, January 29th).

Those who have taken the time to read the document objectively, realise that it is not a comprehensive plan, rather it is a vision statement.

Far from giving “one side […] most of what it wants” and “warn[ing] the other side of dire consequences”, many Arab-Israeli leaders are not at all happy about the vision. Not because they believe it disadvantages Palestinians, but because they wish to remain living under Israeli sovereignty rather than becoming citizens of a future Palestinian state; they know only too well that despite billions of dollars in international aid, life under the current Palestinian Authority is dismal by comparison.

It appears that the Palestinian Authority is not only losing credibility within the international community, but also among their fellow Arabs. And who can blame them? If statesman-in-waiting Mahmoud Abbas refrained from calling for a “Day of Rage” every time he doesn’t get his own way, the majority of his kin might respect him more. Mr Abbas’s call, it should be noted, went mostly unheeded.

Far from “ripping up decades of US policy on all key ‘final status’ issues”, the Oslo Accords offers were not so different, but without the promise of enormous commercial investment of $50 billion into the new Palestinian state, along with the creation of a million new Palestinian jobs over a 10-year period. Surely the majority of ordinary Palestinians, who want nothing more than a decent, stable life for themselves and their children, deserve the support of the international community in calling for an end to the cycle of Palestinian dependency on charity and foreign aid, and the halting of financial compensation to terrorists.

Instead of pouring scorn and negativity on the US administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” vision, should we not be encouraging the Palestinian Authority to at least study what’s on offer? After all, they have four years in which to do so.

Perhaps they can come up with a better alternative. All previous attempts have failed. Yours, etc

JACKIE GOODALL,

Executive Director,

Ireland Israel Alliance,

Dublin 2.