(Washington, D.C., January 28, 2020) I was honored to be in the East Room of the White House today, when President Donald Trump unveiled his historic, bold, new vision for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The plan seems very reasonable, equitable and just, offering a chance for a brighter and more secure future for the Palestinians and their children, as well as for the Israeli people, and their children if the Palestinians would not, as Ambassador Abba Eban once remarked, “miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
This plan would offer Israel control of all of the holy sites, with Jordan maintaining control of the Haram el Sharif, (Har Habayit or Temple Mount). It would give Israel control of all of Area C where virtually all of the major settlement blocks are, and more importantly the entire Jordan Valley, which would create a natural buffer zone. It calls for the end of terrorism and the dismantling of terrorist groups, such as Hamas, in Gaza. It also calls for the Palestinians to recognize the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.
Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as his rival for the Premiership, Benny Gantz, have accepted the plan. Unfortunately, the Palestinians have rejected it out of hand.
The plan is well thought-out, painstakingly detailed, offering the Palestinians geographic contiguity and a multi-billion-dollar package to give them and their children the opportunity to break out of the cycle of self-imposed victimhood and of poverty. Also, in the audience were the Ambassadors of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman, indicating a real thawing of relations between Israel and the Gulf Arab states.
Unfortunately, the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has insulted President Trump, with vile language, calling him “a dog,” and “a son of a dog,” among worse epithets. This is tragic, for their children and grandchildren, as well as our own. As Prime Minister Golda Meir once said, “Peace will come, when they love their children more than they hate ours.” And: “If the Arabs would put down their guns there would be peace. If the Israelis put down their guns, there would be no Israel.”
President Trump and his team should be lauded with the highest praise possible for putting forth a plan that is as courageous and bold as it is comprehensive and realistic. My hope and prayer is that the time will come when the Palestinian leadership will love their children more than they hate ours, and that they will finally be willing to put down their guns.
— Sarah Stern