• OPINION \ Jan 29, 2020
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    Is Trump the Palestinian Messiah? By Yohanna Katanacho
Is Trump the Palestinian Messiah?
By Yohanna Katanacho


In the recent “Peace to Prosperity” document, Trump is suggesting releasing the prisoners, helping the refugees, liberating lands, bringing security, ending wars, and offering financial success. He wants to build a sophisticated economy, transportation, and trade. He seeks to end Palestinian corruption. Moreover, he is engaging Islam, Judaism, and Christianity theologically and politically. He is talking about the holiness of Jerusalem and its future. He is discussing Israel’s security and future. Is he the savior of Palestinians and Israelis from endless wars and intractable struggles? Trump believes that the answer is a big American “Yes”. It is the American dollar. It is the deal of the century. It is the solution for bringing peace and prosperity to Israelis, Palestinians, the Middle East, and even to the world.


Unfortunately, few things are missing from Trump’s plan. First, justice is missing. Trump’s vision is not rooted in a moral vision to bring about peace based on justice. Instead, he adopts a pragmatic view rooted in facts on the ground, in financial prosperity, and Israel’s security. His peace is false because it ignores injustices, equality, human dignity, and humility. Instead, it focuses on Israel’s security.


Second, Trump is not interested in UN resolutions. These resolutions have not helped Israelis or Palestinians to resolve theconflict therefore the world should not bind themselves to UN security councils (p. 5). Trump believes that the wisdom of the international community for decades is useless. The UN is a big failure. America has the best solutions. His proposal imposes solutions on Palestinians and expects them to submit to the American dollar.


Third, Trump wants a Jewish state in the 1948 land and beyond ignoring more than twenty percent of Israel’s citizens who are Palestinians. When he remembers them, he suggests moving them to the Palestinian state (p. 13), which is not in fact a state! He ignores the vision of Palestinian citizens in Israel. These citizens are not seeking independence but full equality. Trump’s proposal contributes to alienating Palestinian citizens of Israel from their Jewish neighbors and their country.


Trump’s peace does not lead to prosperity or to a better life. Instead, it endorses injustice, accepts Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, gives Jerusalem including its holy sites to the state of Israel, imposes one-sided solutions, and increases tensions in the Middle East. Admittedly, Trump is trying to address a difficult problem but he is not addressing it from the perspective of humility. Such humility does not ignore UN resolutions, Palestinian input, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and justice. While Trump shows some sympathy to the suffering of Palestinians, he is not willing to explicitly admit that the state of Israel is partly if not mainly responsible for such suffering through oppressive systems.


So, where do we go from here? It does not need a prophet to state that Trump’s plan is destined to failure and the world will continue to blame Palestinians. This raises a question concerning peacemaking. Political peace is no doubt needed but it cannot be accomplished without a solid moral foundation rooted in justice, equality, and love. At best, Trump’s proposal is seeking to prevent wars. It does not promote a lasting peace.


Last, although I disagree with Trump, I will continue to pray for him, and for Israeli as well as Palestinian politicians. May God help us to speak the truth in love! Trump’s plan does not promote a politics of love but of fear from Palestinians. Love respects, listens, and suffers for the sake of justice. Love does not seek deals but healthy relationships. I find the moral foundation of Trump’s proposal lacking!