Palestine and Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” Plan

In-depth Report:

Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” Plan, was officially unveiled, on 28 January, 2020, at the White House, by both American President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Plan, also known as “Deal of the Century”, dealt with a number of important issues but concentrated on three aspects: political, security and economic affairs. Out of its 181 pages, 54 pages were dedicated to the plan’s economic component, while the rest dealt with the other issues.[1]

It should be pointed out that the Plan was authored by a team headed by two American attorneys: Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner, and Trump’s former real estate lawyer Jason D. Greenblatt, two pro-Trump White House assistants.

The following article aims at providing critical analysis of parts of the “Peace to Prosperity” Plan. Consequently, it will concentrate only on three aspects: (a) Colonial Verbiage (b) International Law and Sovereignty and (c) The Proposed Palestinian “State”.

(a) Colonial Verbiage

Trump’s Plan should not be judged only by what ideas it contains, but also by both its terminology and by what it tried to conceal. The purposeful omissions by the authors of a number of realities inside the Colonized Palestinian Territories (CPT) revealed how, through the use of colonial verbiage, the authors attempted to twist realities and advance hazy assumptions.

Analysis of the style of language the authors used in this Plan reveals the following. The word ‘Vision’ was repeated 96 times while the term ‘security’ was repeated 165 times. Israeli 53-years old belligerent occupation of the Palestinian territories was described by the authors as a “security footprint”, while Israeli colonial settlers in the West Bank were called “Israeli residents”. The 12-years old tight Israeli military siege on the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli occupation, two familiar and internationally accepted terms, were never used by the authors.

Apparently, this American plan was focused on the Israeli version of “security”, an issue that will be dealt with later. It should be pointed out that Israeli settlers inside the West Bank call themselves Jewish settlers, so does the Israeli media which reports their shooting of Palestinian civilians, their plunder of Palestinian-owned land and their daily burning and cutting of Palestinian olive trees. Even Israeli politicians call them Jewish settlers or pioneer settlers. The Plan leaves us in the dark and the authors do not inform us how Israeli settlers were converted into Israeli residents?

Furthermore, the Plan and its authors are completely tilted to Zionist colonial interests. One indicator for this bias is a statement given by the so-called Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt. He has frequently criticized Palestinian leaders for their policies and rejection of the Trump administration’s efforts. When asked why he does not voice similar criticism of Netanyahu’s government policies, he responded by saying: I did not find “anything to criticize.”[2]

(b) International Law and Sovereignty

In the course of their ‘prolonged occupation’, the Zionist authorities annexed the occupied territories of both the Syrian Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. The present Israeli government expressed its intention to annex additional territories of the West Bank, namely the Jordan valley and all the illegal colonial settlements that were created in the West Bank in the period 1967-2020. Consequently, one should ask: can the Israeli authorities legally carry out this political measure and acquire a sovereign title over these occupied territories?

According to Michael Lynk[3], a well-known Canadian expert in International Law, they definitely cannot. Lynk elaborated his expert opinion in a research entitled “Prolonged Occupation or Illegal Occupant”, in which he argued that,

In the modern world, an occupying power cannot, under any circumstances, acquire the right to conquer, annex or gain sovereign title over any part of the territory under its occupation…This prohibition has been made clear by both the 1907 Hague Regulations, and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.[4]

This same prohibition was formerly stated by the United Nations Security Council which, in November 1967, has endorsed the principle of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory” by war or by force, a position that was repeatedly adopted by the UNSC on at least nine occasions, most recently in December 2016.[5]

To begin with, International Law constitutes the only reliable and internationally accepted measure for issues of belligerent occupation and sovereignty. It is important to emphasize that when a foreign army occupies a foreign territory; sovereignty is suspended but never annulled. Lynk pointed out that any territorial annexation by the occupant cannot become valid and legal and should be measured by the principal instruments of international humanitarian law, namely the 1907 Hague Regulations, the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention and the 1977 Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.[6]

Initially, the authors of the “Peace to Prosperity” Plan dealt with the issue of sovereignty in a peculiar and bizarre way. They argued that:

Sovereignty is an amorphous concept that has evolved over time. … The notion that sovereignty is a static and consistently defined term has been an unnecessary stumbling block in past negotiations. Pragmatic and operational concerns that effect security and prosperity are what is most important.[7]

In accordance with this twisted and strange legal opinion, the authors of the Plan decided that Israeli sovereignty can be freely granted to the Israeli occupant on any part of the occupied Palestinian territories. Therefore, they endorsed Israeli annexation of two Palestinian territories: East Jerusalem and all the Zionist colonial settlements inside the West Bank.

From the very beginning, the authors who emphasized that their Plan “is security-focused”[8] contemplated that “The Jordan Valley, which is critical for Israel’s national security, will be under Israeli sovereignty…”[9] Even, after the establishment of the proposed Palestinian “state” and according to the Plan, Israel will still have “security responsibility”[10] inside the territory of this “state”.

When it comes to the issue of “security”, it should be emphasized that the Israeli army is one of the strongest armies in the world. According to the Military Strength Ranking index of Global Firepower, “Israel comes behind the standard military powerhouses of the United States, Russia, China, India and European powers Germany, the UK and France…”[11]

Historically speaking, Zionist justifications for conquests, plunder, violence and repression have been repeatedly projected by Zionist leaders as “historical rights”, “security needs”, and fight against Palestinian “terrorism”. These euphemisms constituted Zionist attempts to camouflage the colonial relationship that developed inside historical Palestine.

Consequently, the term “security”, is a classical Zionist euphemism that has been in use by Zionist politicians and military analysts, throughout the colonization period. It has frequently been used as a blanket phrase, designed to cover up and justify a number of Zionist settler colonial acts, policies and activities such as: colonial settlements, territorial annexations, expropriations of Palestinian-owned land and water resources, Gaza Strip siege, torture of Palestinian prisoners, targeted killings of Palestinian leaders, the so-called “security barrier” (Separation Wall), the arrest of Palestinian small children, and the shoot to kill policy.

Actually, all these Israeli measures and many other war crimes were all carried out by the Zionists for dubious “security reasons”. They were implemented, by successive Zionist governments, inside the Colonized Palestinian Territories and were justified by false security pretensions. Several UN and International resolutions have repeatedly condemned these violations.

Therefore, Zionist Israel has no “vital security needs” inside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In reality, it has colonialist interests cloaked as “vital security needs”.

In short, President Donald Trump who trampled on previous UN resolutions, declarations, treaties and principles, has appointed himself as an international bogus real state arbiter.  He granted what he does not legally own, namely the colonized Golan Heights and parts of the colonized West Bank, to the Zionist settler colonialists who neither legally own these territories.

In order to justify this grand land robbery that lacks any lawful title to ownership, the Plan authors call “sovereignty an amorphous concept” and completely devastate the existence of the internationally accepted International Law.

Accordingly, we should ask:  Who decides what is a valid legal claim of a belligerent occupant on an occupied territory? The only concrete and legally correct answer is International Law. Therefore, the authors’ worthless claims are null and void.

According to Michael Lynk, the Canadian International Law expert,

In the modern world, an occupying power cannot, under any circumstances, acquire the right to conquer, annex or gain sovereign title over any part of the territory under its occupation. This is one of the most well-established principles of modern international law and enjoys universal endorsement.[12]

Moreover, this principle has been confirmed by the UNSC resolution 242 in November 1967, which has endorsed the principle of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory” by war or by force on at least nine occasions, most recently in December 2016.[13]

Furthermore, the authors of “Peace to Prosperity” plan mentioned that,

“Since 1946, there have been close to 700 United Nations General Assembly resolutions and over 100 United Nations Security Council resolutions in connection with this conflict. …These resolutions have not brought about peace…”[14]

The authors did not mention that the 100 resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council were not implemented because of the numerous American vetoes that were casted by the American representative at the UNSC in favor of Israel, and because of the American backing of Israeli colonial policies pursued by Israel’s various governments inside the CPT.

(c) The Proposed Palestinian “State”

The so-called Palestinian “state”, envisioned by the Trump’s Plan, looks very much like a bizarre collection of disjointed land enclaves. The attached map reveals the proposed “state” as composed of countless number of land pieces, spread out inside both of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and lacks any territorial contiguity. As stated by the Plan, these enclaves will be connected together by “… an innovative network of roads, bridges and tunnels that enables freedom of movement for the Palestinians”[15]. Moreover, these pieces of land happened to be the densely populated territories of cities, towns and villages, that are not colonizeable, therefore, are not desired by the Israeli colonial annexationists.

In addition, the proposed “state” lacks genuine sovereignty and is surrounded by clusters of Israeli colonial settlements. It will have no borders with Jordan or Egypt and its airspace, sea shore and exits will be under permanent Israeli military control. Furthermore, it will be fully demilitarized with no army but a local police force.[16]

Moreover, the proposed “state” will include imposed limitations that give it a fictitious sovereignty. The Plan:

“… necessarily entails the limitations of certain sovereign powers in the Palestinian areas (henceforth referred to as the “Palestinian State”) such as maintenance of Israeli security responsibility and Israeli control of the airspace west of the Jordan River…”[17]

Other related future tasks of the Zionist authorities inside the proposed Palestinian “state” were described in the document as “security responsibility” and “security challenges”.

As anticipated by the Plan, the proposed “Palestinian State” will have security forces that encompass the following tasks.

“…The mission of the State of Palestine’s security forces will be public order, law enforcement, counterterrorism … border security, protection of government officials and foreign dignitaries, and disaster response…”[18]

As it appears by the Plan, American support for the establishment of a “Palestinian state” would be conditional and comes after Palestinian leaders embrace “peace” under the following Zionist conditions:[19]

  • Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state,
  • Rejecting terrorism in all its forms,
  • Carrying out special arrangements that address Israel’s vital security needs,
  • Building effective institutions,
  • Choosing pragmatic solutions.

In short, after renouncing the Palestinian legitimate national rights, Palestinian leaders must adopt the Zionist political agenda which is based on meeting Israel’s colonialist interests, hidden by the so-called Israeli “security needs”. In return for this total national capitulation, the Palestinians will receive “…more than $50 billion in new investment over ten years…”[20] and in return for their cooperation, the Jordanian, Lebanese and Egyptian governments will get a total of $22,857 billion[21], in grants and loans[22], but mostly subsidized loans, paid in the course of a ten years period. 

The South African Bantustans and the Israeli Zionistan

It should be pointed out that the politico-military and economic relationship that was developed by Israel, in the last 53 years, inside the CPT is described by the authors as a “security footprint”. One wanders, what kind of audacity the authors assumed when they summarized 53 years of Israeli brutal settler colonial rule by calling it “security footprint”? Perhaps they thought that they can easily succeed in covering up an ugly reality that has been numerously condemned by UN resolutions, the overwhelming majority of states in the world and by International Law experts?

The Palestinian-ruled areas inside the WBGS were described by various terms as “self-rule areas”, “autonomous areas”, “Palestinian Cantons”, “internal colonial regime” and Palestinian “Bantustans”.

Actually, these terms are misnomers that are inadequate and reveal a lack of a concise term to describe precisely these entities. These entities can best be described as “Zionistans”. Consequently, a Zionistan[23]could be defined as: a territory set aside by Israel for the indigenous Palestinians and given municipal independence while ensuring their political and economic subordination to Israel. These Zionistans were gradually established in the period 1993-2020, as racially segregated entities in the West Bank and previously in the Gaza Strip. Later on and in 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Erik Sharon decided to dismantle Israeli colonial settlements from the Gaza Strip.

When compared, these entities are similar to the system of Apartheid that was applied in South Africa until it collapsed in 1994.

The Proposed “State” of Palestine

Source: White House Staff, “Peace to Prosperity”,, retrieved on 10 February 2020, p.46

It is imperative to recall that the description of Apartheid was given to these Zionistans by two Israeli Prime Ministers, Ehud Olmert[24] and Ehud Barak[25], and by an American Secretary of State John Kerry[26]. US President Jimmy Carter was bold enough to use it for the tile of his 2006 book “Palestine: Peace or Apartheid”.[27]

Apparently, these Israeli and American politicians were able to foresee the destiny of Zionist colonial realities on the ground and knew for sure the close similarities between the Israeli Zionistan project and the South African Bantustan project. The parallel they drew was meant to pose a warning to the Zionist colonialists that once they start implementing their colonialist scheme, they will unleash an accelerated process of its inevitable destruction.

The following map shows the locations of the 10 Bantustans along the borders of South Africa. When compared to Trump’s map, one can easily notice the close similarities between the two maps. Both, the Zionistan entity and the Bantustan entity, are composed of disjoined enclaves, lack territorial contiguity, reveal racial segregation, and show a bizarre creature that can never survive.

Source: “Black homelands (“bantustans”) in apartheid South Africa, 1986”,, retrieved on 13 February, 2020.

This colonial solution was tried by Apartheid South Africa. It lasted for fifteen years but South Africa could not market, anymore to the world, its Bantustans as African independent entities. On 27 April 1994 this Apartheid regime collapsed. As a result, these Bantustans were re-encorporated into the new nine provinces of a democratic South Africa.[28]

Concluding Remarks

US arrogant president Donald Trump appointed himself as an international real estate arbiter, granting what remained of the Palestinian homeland to Zionist colonization and justifying Israeli illegal annexation of the colonized territories of both East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Judged by its declared aspirations, timing and content, the Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” Plan cannot be a peace plan because it proposes a detailed colonialist set of assumptions that were tailored by its authors to fit the exact measures of the Israeli ongoing Zionistan project. In actuality it looks more like an archaic Roman diktat that aims at the liquidation of the option for the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Zionist Conflict.

Moreover, Trump’s “Progress to Prosperity” Plan has used the impact of colonial settlements, in order to impose a colonial solution to a colonial problem. The authors of the “Progress to Prosperity” should be reminded that Israel is using a solution that has totally failed in Apartheid South Africa and it can never succeed in Palestine, because a colonial solution cannot be permanent nor stable since it contains the internal potential for its own demise.


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[1] White House Staff, “Peace to Prosperity”,, retrieved on 10 February 2020

[2] Diamond, Jeremy, “Trump peace plan author: ‘I haven’t found anything to criticize’ Israel over”, CNN,, 26 June, 2019

[3] Michael Lynk is an associate professor at the Faculty of Law, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. In March 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed him as Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 (ZS).

[4] Lynk, Michael, “Prolonged Occupation or Illegal Occupant?”, Retrieved on: 13 February 2020.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Peace to Prosperity”, op. cit. p. 9

[8] Ibid. p. 4

[9] Ibid., p. 13

[10] Ibid., p.3

[11] Winston, Alex, “Israel drops a slot in 2019 Military Strength Ranking, still behind Iran”,, 12 August, 2019.

[12] Lynk, Michael, op. cit.

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Peace to Prosperity”, op. cit., p. 5

[15] Ibid., p.7

[16] Ibid., p. 22

[17] Ibid., p. 3

[18] Ibid. p. 22

[19] Ibid., p.8

[20] Ibid., p. 19

[21] Ibid., p. 97

[22] Ibid., p. 98

[23] Zionistan is a concept that was coined by me to describe the Apartheid-like entity that Israeli settler colonialists have developed inside the colonized West Bank in the period 1967-2020.

[24]  McCarthy, Rory, “Israel risks apartheid-like struggle if two-state solution fails, says Olmert”,, 30 November 2007.

[26] Beaumont, Peter, “Israel risks becoming apartheid state if peace talks fail, says John Kerry”,, 29 April 2014.

[27]  Ibid.

[28]  Ibid.

Featured image is from Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr

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Articles by: Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh

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