On January 28, 2020 President Trump presented his administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” proposal.

Here is a brief description (from the Washington Post ):

“The Trump administration’s now-published “vision for peace,” the culmination of what the president said was “a long and very arduous process,” outlines a scenario in which Israel maintains sovereignty west of the Jordan river, a capital in an undivided Jerusalem, and control over Jewish enclaves and settlements scattered through the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, get … not much. In Trump’s scheme, backed by Netanyahu, they would give up the claims of Palestinian refugees and accept a conditions-based path to statehood in a patchwork of territory carved up by Israeli roads and settlements. Trump’s plan cedes security control of the eastern border with Jordan wholly to Israel, calls for the dismantling of Palestinian militant groups and allots a Palestinian capital on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem — rather than in East Jerusalem proper, as envisioned by the international community and successive U.S. administrations.”

ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton issued a statement on January 28, 2020 in response, saying:

“I am very dismayed and disturbed by President Trump’s announcement of a “peace plan” that, I fear, will bring greater insecurity for Israelis and Palestinians instead of peace.

Our church has long held that any successful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be based on negotiation between the parties. Unfortunately, this “plan” has involved only one party. A plan made for a people without consulting that people will not bring peace. It also seeks to remove from the table many of the final status issues by effectively giving a green light to Israel to further entrench the occupation, rather than end it, – a policy we have advocated for years…

Therefore, I call upon President Trump to develop a different plan that would involve all parties, and to pursue efforts that would adhere to international law and human rights conventions. This plan should ensure the protection and preservation of internationally recognized human rights and realize, for Palestinians and for Israelis, two viable, secure states living side by side in peace.”

Bishop Sani-Ibrahim Azar of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) released a statement on 29 January calling on partner churches to urge their governments to take specific action.

“Peace can never be unilaterally imposed,” write Lutheran World Federation (LWF) president Archbishop Panti Filibus Musa, and LWF General Secretary Rev Dr Martin Junge in a statement released on 29 January. “The plan ignores fundamental principles of international law and human rights conventions, as well as numerous UN General Assembly and UN Security Council resolutions, setting a dangerous precedent for the future.”

The statement continues: “The LWF calls upon the international community

  • to renew their commitment to international law and multilateral cooperation and negotiation, as the only way to safeguard security and ensure lasting peace,
  • to take immediate actions to reduce the humanitarian suffering in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including encouraging Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza, ensuring sufficient funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and increasing its support for the East Jerusalem hospitals and other humanitarian programs given the severe cuts in U.S. funding for the West Bank and Gaza.”

The Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) also released a statement on the US plan on January 29, stating: “US recognition of Israeli moves toward unilateral annexation of occupied Palestinian territory would constitute a breach of international law, which obliges states not to recognise, aid, or assist Israel’s international wrongful actions. Annexing parts of the West Bank will further exacerbate the risk of forcible transfer of Palestinian families and communities, entrench poverty, and hamper the provision of essential humanitarian assistance. Annexation endorsed by the US plan not only violates Israel’s responsibilities as an Occupying Power under international humanitarian Law, it also denies Palestinians their right to self-determination, condemning them to enduring discrimination and dependency.”

The statement goes on to say:

“A genuine, viable, and just peace plan must adhere to international law, uphold equality, and ensure self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis. The US ‘Deal of the Century’ fails to meet these basic tenets. We urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work together on a plan that can deliver a just and durable peace.
We call on the international community, including the EU, its member states, and other countries to:

  • Reject the inequitable US proposition and urgently advance an alternative peace plan, based on human rights, international law, and realisation of self-determination for all peoples.
  • Take decisive action, including employing all available lawful countermeasures to uphold accountability, in order to halt further annexation and severance of Palestinian territorial integrity, and ensure rapid reversal of those measures announced or already implemented.”

Nine NGOs, including the Lutheran World Federation, issued a statement warning that Trump’s Middle East peace plan risks exacerbating instability and rights violations:

“As humanitarian, development, and religious organizations serving Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, we fear the US Middle East Plan may spark an escalation in violence and entrench violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. We urge the international community to pursue a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with human rights and international law that guarantees safety for all of the region’s people.

The situation facing Palestinians is already critical. Nearly half of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza need humanitarian assistance. More than two thirds of Gaza’s population is food insecure and 90 percent lack access to clean water through the public water network. The health system in Gaza is on the verge of collapse and unemployment levels are unsustainable yet continue to increase – especially among women and youth. Any path forward must address this urgent and stark reality.”