Carnegie Endowment Urges Biden To Reverse Trump’s Israel-Palestine Policies

April 22, 2021 by Daniel Mollenkamp
Sunlight peeks through clouds over a section of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Efrat, March 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

WASHINGTON – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., says the U.S. should discard the Trump-era Israel-Palestine policies as a first step to break the status quo.

The new report argues that the U.S. ought to establish clearer channels of accountability in the Israel-Palestine conflict, in addition to walking back some of what they consider to be the more notable roadblocks to peace in the post-Trump era. It is an approach, they say, that needs to center on the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis. 

During the Trump administration, the U.S. oversaw a few actions that critics have argued particularly undermined Palestinian stability.

A 2017 executive order moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, for example. The U.S. Department of State halted funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, in a manner that a Brookings Institution scholar described as “abrupt.” The U.S. also negotiated a series of “normalization” deals between Israel and Arab nations, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.

The Trump administration also released a plan for a “two-state solution” that it said would bring peace.

In a report published this week, four scholars affiliated with Carnegie Endowment argued that a Biden administration decision to “jettison” the 2020 Peace to Prosperity Plan, the Trump administration’s proposal to solve the Palestine-Israel conflict, would mark a “vital” first step but that it alone would not move the conflict past the current status.

The report described the Trump plan as part of a scaffolding that “sustains occupation and is structurally incapable of delivering peace and human security.”

A paper published by Brookings Institution in 2020 characterized the plan as one that offered the Palestinians a state in name only and that in fact opened the path for unilateral annexation by Israel.

In a letter published in the Guardian last year, 50 former European prime ministers and foreign ministers equated the plan’s “two-state solution” with apartheid. 

“Peace to Prosperity is not a roadmap to a viable two-state solution, nor to any other legitimate solution to the conflict,” that letter said. “The plan envisages a formalization of the current reality in the occupied Palestinian territory, in which two peoples are living side by side without equal rights.”

Since the Biden administration came to office, the U.S. has restored funding to the UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees as well as “credible” U.S. engagement with Palestinian leaders. Richard Mills, then-acting U.S. ambassador to the UN, had announced the restoration in a speech before the UN Security Council in January. Mills also commented on the U.S.’s commitment to a “viable” two-state solution in the speech, which he said is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state.

Some, however, argue the administration does not have serious plans to “solve” the conflict. A piece published in April in POLITICO, for instance, argued that the fact the Biden administration hasn’t named a special envoy for the conflict, and that it has made no plans for a peace conference or process, is a signal that it is not a priority for the Biden team. The piece points out that Biden has not reversed the Trump decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and it quotes people arguing that the “lack of political will” in Washington may be “putting a two-state solution out of reach.”

What is needed, the Carnegie Endowment scholars say, is an approach that avoids short-term fixes and “prioritizes” the rights and security of Israelis and Palestinians rather than maintaining a compromised peace process.

To move past the current state of affairs, the Biden administration ought to reaffirm the position that Israeli settlements are a violation of international law, they argued. 

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in late 2019 that the U.S. does not consider construction on the West Bank to be a violation of international law. The Carnegie report suggests that reverting this position would help establish accountability.

The administration should also distinguish between “Israel and its illegal settlements in all bilateral treaties and cooperation programs” and reimpose geographical restrictions on U.S.-Israel research, the Carnegie researchers said. 

“The settlements have created a sense among Israelis that achieving a two-state solution is too difficult while continuing a cost-free occupation is easy,” the Carnegie report said.

It is a view that has never been countered by the U.S., they say, because of the lack of accountability.

The Carnegie scholars argued that the U.S. should show support for efforts by multilateral bodies to distinguish between Israel and the occupied territories in law as well as establishing a means to monitor how Israel uses defense equipment provided by the U.S. so that it does not “facilitate annexation or human rights violations in the occupied territories.”

The approach requires that anti-democratic policies in both countries get discarded, the Carnegie authors claimed.

The report, which is part of an ongoing series of proposed solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict, was authored by Zaha Hassan, Daniel Levy, Hallaamal Keir, and Marwan Muasher.

The report, Breaking the Israel-Palestine Status Quo, can be read here

A recorded presentation of the report, from an event held virtually this week, can be viewed here.

In The News

Health

Voting

Geopolitics

China Rejects Hacking Charges, Accuses US of Cyberspying
Geopolitics
China Rejects Hacking Charges, Accuses US of Cyberspying

BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday rejected an accusation by Washington and its Western allies that Beijing is to blame for a hack of the Microsoft Exchange email system and complained Chinese entities are victims of damaging U.S. cyberattacks. A foreign ministry spokesman demanded Washington drop... Read More

US, Allies Accuse China of Backing Cyber Attacks Worldwide
Cybercrime
US, Allies Accuse China of Backing Cyber Attacks Worldwide
July 19, 2021
by Dan McCue

The United States, NATO and several allies collectively called out China on Monday for a series of malicious cyber- and ransomware attacks, including a March attack that exploited a flaw in Microsoft's Exchange Server. Monday’s announcement, which followed a conference call with White House reporters Sunday... Read More

U.S. Names China, Ethiopia, Myanmar In Genocide Prevention Report
Geopolitics
U.S. Names China, Ethiopia, Myanmar In Genocide Prevention Report
July 13, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

A report from the U.S. voiced concern over ongoing human rights abuses, which the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, at a press conference on Monday characterized as an attempt to apply international pressure to stop atrocities. In the 2021 Wiesel report, the country’s annual atrocity... Read More

Top US Commander in Afghanistan Relinquishes Post
Military
Top US Commander in Afghanistan Relinquishes Post

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan relinquished his position at a ceremony in the capital Kabul on Monday, taking the United States a step closer to ending its 20-year war. The move came as Taliban insurgents continue to gain territory across the... Read More

Biden Says US War in Afghanistan Will End August 31
White House
Biden Says US War in Afghanistan Will End August 31

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday said the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on Aug. 31, saying "speed is safety" as the United States seeks to end the nearly 20-year war. "We did not go to Afghanistan to nation build," Biden said... Read More

Big Tech Industry Group Criticizes Hong Kong’s Vague Data Rules
Technology
Big Tech Industry Group Criticizes Hong Kong’s Vague Data Rules
July 6, 2021
by Dan McCue

An industry group representing Google, Facebook and other Internet companies warned Hong Kong’s government that changes to the city’s data-protection laws could dramatically curb the companies’ ability to provide services to it. The problem, the letter says, is vaguely worded rules that the Singapore-based Asia Internet... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top