The Trump plan highlights important concepts, including the primacy of the two-state solution as the best formula for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, it renders this model hollow by allowing for unilateral Israeli annexation of all West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley.

It is critical that the Israeli government not use the Trump plan as an excuse to begin unilateral annexation, taking an endorsement of a two-state framework and turning it on its head.

Unilateral annexation of territory will have disastrous consequences, and if the Trump plan is to be a serious effort to engage in permanent status negotiations between the two sides, it cannot begin by greenlighting such a maneuver.

To better understand the Trump plan, click any of the topics below for a breakdown of how the administration’s proposal deals with that subject.

The Trump plan acknowledges many important foundations of any sustainable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Trump plan supports the necessity of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is an important recognition that there is no other viable solution to the conflict.

  • This should finally put to rest dreams on the right that anyone will endorse full Israeli annexation of the West Bank and dreams on the left that a utopian bi-national state will ever be willfully accepted by Israelis.
  • The most right-wing administration in recent American history and the first Israeli prime minister to advocate unilateral annexation have now both publicly endorsed a Palestinian state.
  • The task now is to make sure that the big positive – continued American endorsement of a two-state outcome – is not swallowed up by the many negatives, among them the potential use of the plan for unilateral annexation and the numerous unrealistic and non-viable details contained in the plan.
  • If the plan is utilized as a green light to proceed with annexing the territory that the conceptual map envisions as part of Israel, it will not end with two states and will be inconsistent with a negotiated two-state framework.
  • If the plan is taken as the basis for negotiations between the two sides, then it could possibly end up as a helpful contribution. But it has been presented as a diktat, with extremely detailed terms that predetermine negotiations rather than serve as a basis for renewed bilateral negotiations. 

The Trump plan acknowledges the need for land swaps as part of a territorial compromise.  This is an important recognition of a long-held principle of peacemaking efforts that the Israeli right has rejected in the past.

  • But the land swaps in the Trump plan, aside from not being equal in size, are not remotely comparable in quality. Moreover, the proposed map provides for a gerrymandered, noncontiguous Palestinian state carved up by enclaves of Israeli settlements.  It also incorporates some of the most far-flung Israeli settlements, home to some of the most extreme opponents of any Palestinian, state, within its borders.
  • Moreover, the Trump plan takes the unprecedented step of endorsing the transfer of the Triangle, a region of northern Israel home to many Israeli Arab citizens, to a future State of Palestine. This serves to mainstream a fringe proposal that deprives Israelis of their citizenship and represents an American intervention in the internal affairs of the State of Israel.

The Trump plan acknowledges the Palestinian demand to have a capital in Jerusalem.  This is an important recognition that the municipal boundary of Jerusalem drawn in 1967 is not sacred.

  • But it proposes that capital be located in neighborhoods that are currently disconnected from Jerusalem by the security barrier. Those neighborhoods are not actually recognized by Palestinians or the Arab world to be part of Jerusalem. It also takes the core Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem – ones that contain few or no Israelis – and places them inside of Israel and disconnected from the Palestinian state.

The Trump plan provides for Israel’s security needs to be met. This is an important recognition of Israel’s core security needs in any two-state framework.

  • But a proposal that supports all of Israel’s positions and rejects all Palestinian positions is likely to diminish Palestinian public support for any two-state framework in favor of equal rights in a single state, creating an existential threat to Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state.
  • Furthermore, the security proposals in the plan are so far reaching that they do not even give the Palestinians a say in their implementation or provide for any dispute resolution between the two sides as a first step.
  • The plan violates the long held governing principle of squaring Israel’s security needs with Palestinian sovereignty and dignity.

The Trump plan calls for a freeze on new settlement construction in areas designated to be part of the future Palestinian state.  This recognizes that building settlements creates facts on the ground that make the realization of a two-state solution much harder to achieve.

  • But it provides a green light for Israel to annex all of the existing settlements, including those that are well beyond the major settlement blocs, as well as the Jordan Valley.  Once annexed, settlements in these areas that have been far outside the consensus of any viable two-state framework will be able to develop unfettered.

The Trump plan provides a generous economic aid package to the Palestinians. This is an important recognition of the investment that will be needed by the US and international community to ensure that any Palestinian state is economically viable.  Many of these economic ideas could be utilized in future peacemaking efforts.

  • But the unworkable political aspects of the plan ensure that the positive economic proposals will never actually come to fruition.