Israel Policy Forum welcomes the release of the Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” initiative but cautions that it cannot be implemented, or even fully considered, without a clear statement from the Trump administration setting forth its political vision for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The administration’s economic initiative bypasses the necessary preceding political component, and if it is to be successful, it must be predicated upon a two-state framework that will ensure Israeli security, Palestinian independence and sovereignty, and the cooperation of other regional actors.

“Peace to Prosperity” envisions a highly optimistic scenario for the development of the West Bank and Gaza, and many of the ideas contained in the plan would have far-reaching benefits. Yet none of them are feasible without addressing the first-order questions of what political entity will exist in the territory, who will control the borders, whether there will be Israeli restrictions on exports and imports, and a host of other political and security questions that “Peace to Prosperity” completely elides. The plan also implicitly assumes that the Palestinians’ core concern is their economic well-being, when Palestinians have repeatedly and consistently communicated that their top priorities are independence and statehood. Without the foundational premise that there will eventually be an independent Palestinian state, “Peace to Prosperity” is nothing more than a utopian fantasy.

It is critical to develop a well-functioning and regionally-integrated Palestinian economy. This cannot happen without first addressing the most basic political and security issues. We urge the Trump administration to commit to a two-state framework if its peace plan is to have any chance of succeeding.