By Azriel Bermant, published in Foreign Policy, 6 February 2020
On Feb. 4, Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign-policy chief, caused a stir when he condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said that future Israeli annexations of West Bank settlements “could not pass unchallenged,” and he reiterated the EU’s commitment to a viable two-state solution.
His statement stood in stark contrast to the way the British government has responded to news of the Trump deal. Speaking in the House of Commons on Jan. 29, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that, while “no peace plan is perfect,” the Trump administration’s plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has its “merits.” Meanwhile, the U.K. foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, described the plan as “clearly a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort.”
A close look, of course, shows that Trump’s plan would certainly not help the cause of peace. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that it could turn Israel into an apartheid state. Even current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has raised concerns in the past about Israel becoming a binational state, a fate that could come to pass if Israel is given a green light to annex the Jordan Valley and all its settlements on the West Bank. A poll by the Israel Democracy Institute think tank found that about half of Jewish Israelis viewed the deal as U.S. interference in the Israeli elections next month. At the same time, supporters of Netanyahu in the Likud party have wasted no time in pocketing Johnson’s support.
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Dr Azriel Bermant
Foreign Policy and International Security Analyst, Historian, Lecturer, Author