US churches comment on Trump plan for Israel and Palestine

By agency reporter
June 26, 2019

On 22 June 2019, the Trump administration released the first part of its long-awaited diplomatic plan for Israel and the Palestinians, a document focused on foreign investment in the occupied Palestinian territories entitled 'Peace to Prosperity. The Economic Plan: A New Vision for the Palestinian People.'

Ecumenical Christian organisation Churches for Middle East Peace responded, saying: "While the document's authors correctly identify many of the Palestinian economy's most pressing needs, they fundamentally misdiagnose the root causes of its problems. Underdevelopment in the Palestinian territories is not the result of natural market forces; it is the direct product of over fifty years of Israeli military occupation and policies explicitly designed to stifle the Palestinian economy.

"Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) believes a political solution that grants the Palestinian people their full freedom and right to self-determination is a necessary prerequisite to economic prosperity. Even the most thorough and well-planned economic development proposals will ultimately fail if this most basic condition is not met.  

"Based on what's known of the plan and the Trump administration's actions since taking office, it is increasingly clear that the Trump administration is trying to lay the groundwork for a one-sided political agreement. Under the present administration, the US has recognised Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem in violation of seventy years of official US policy and international law and has cut almost all aid to the Palestinian people,. Such a proposal will most likely result in Palestinians retaining only local autonomy in limited areas of the occupied territories while the Israeli military maintains overall control of their lives, while Israeli settlements built illegally on occupied Palestinian land remain in place.

"CMEP reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive, negotiated peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that is based in UN resolutions and international law, respecting the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in freedom with peace and security. If the Trump administration is serious about improving the lives of Palestinians, it can begin by restoring the aid that it cut to the Palestinian people and applying pressure on Israel until it grants Palestinians their freedom and rights."

* Churches for Middle East Peace is a coalition of 29 national church communions and organisations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions, that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East, with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CMEP works to mobilise US Christians to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East. https://cmep.org/

[Ekk/6]

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