President Trump is suggesting releasing the prisoners, helping the refugees, liberating lands, bringing security, ending wars and offering financial success in his recent “Peace to Prosperity” document.
He wants to build a sophisticated economy, transportation and trade. He seeks to end Palestinian corruption.
Moreover, he is engaging Islam, Judaism and Christianity theologically and politically. He is talking about the holiness of Jerusalem and its future. He is discussing Israel’s security and future.
Is he the savior of Palestinians and Israelis from endless wars and intractable struggles? Trump believes the answer is a big American, “Yes.”
It is the American dollar. It is the deal of the century. It is the solution for bringing peace and prosperity to Israelis, Palestinians, the Middle East and even to the world.
Unfortunately, a few things are missing from Trump’s plan.
First, justice is missing.
Trump’s vision is not rooted in a moral vision to bring about peace based on justice. Instead, he adopts a pragmatic view rooted in facts on the ground, in financial prosperity and Israel’s security.
His peace is false because it ignores injustices, equality, human dignity and humility. Instead, it focuses on Israel’s security.
Second, Trump is not interested in U.N. resolutions.
He asserts these resolutions have not helped Israelis or Palestinians to resolve the conflict. Therefore, the world should not bind themselves to U.N. security councils (see page 5).
Trump believes the wisdom of the international community for decades is useless. The U.N. is a big failure. America has the best solutions.
His proposal imposes solutions on Palestinians and expects them to submit to the American dollar.
Third, Trump wants a Jewish state in the 1948 land and beyond, ignoring more than 20% of Israel’s citizens who are Palestinians.
When he remembers them, he suggests moving them to the Palestinian state (see page 13), which is not in fact a state. He ignores the vision of Palestinian citizens in Israel. These citizens are not seeking independence but full equality.
Trump’s proposal contributes to alienating Palestinian citizens of Israel from their Jewish neighbors and their country.
Trump’s peace does not lead to prosperity or to a better life. Instead, it endorses injustice, accepts Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, gives Jerusalem including its holy sites to the state of Israel, imposes one-sided solutions and increases tensions in the Middle East.
Admittedly, Trump is trying to address a difficult problem, but he is not addressing it from the perspective of humility. Such humility does not ignore U.N. resolutions, Palestinian input, Palestinian citizens of Israel and justice.
While Trump shows some sympathy to the suffering of Palestinians, he is not willing to admit explicitly the state of Israel is partly if not mainly responsible for such suffering through oppressive systems.
So, where do we go from here?
It does not need a prophet to state that Trump’s plan is destined to failure and the world will continue to blame Palestinians. This raises a question concerning peacemaking.
Political peace is no doubt needed but it cannot be accomplished without a solid moral foundation rooted in justice, equality and love. At best, Trump’s proposal is seeking to prevent wars. It does not promote a lasting peace.
Last, although I disagree with Trump, I will continue to pray for him, and for Israeli as well as Palestinian politicians. May God help us to speak the truth in love.
Trump’s plan does not promote a politics of love but of fear from Palestinians.
Love respects, listens and suffers for the sake of justice. Love does not seek deals but healthy relationships.
I find the moral foundation of Trump’s proposal lacking.
Yohanna Katanacho is the academic dean at Nazareth Evangelical College and professor of biblical studies at Bethlehem Bible College. He lives in Nazareth and continually commutes to Bethlehem.