White House unveils Middle East peace plan: Israel Update
January 31, 2020
In a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan on Tuesday. The comprehensive and complex proposal lays out a vision for a “two-state solution” that calls for a demilitarized Palestinian state in Gaza and a majority of the West Bank. The proposed location for the capital of the Palestinian state is a section of East Jerusalem. Under the plan, Israel will control an “undivided Jerusalem” and obtain the right to annex all major West Bank settlements, while agreeing to a four-year freeze on further construction in all areas constituting the new Palestinian state. It remains unclear how the plan would be enacted and what the implications would be for each side. However, prior to its release, the proposal was emphatically rejected by Palestinian leaders. The somewhat controversial plan garnered divergent reviews from national Jewish groups. The Cincinnati Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is committed to a secure, vibrant, democratic, and Jewish State of Israel. JCRC has long held a consensus in support of an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that results in two states between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River living side-by-side in peace, one Jewish and democratic and the other Palestinian Arab and democratic. While others can assist, this must be directly negotiated by representatives of the two peoples. For additional analysis of the White House proposal, the JCRC has created a website to provide the community with the most important resources and information regarding the plan.
While Netanyahu was in Washington to mark the release of the peace deal, he became the first sitting Prime Minister to be indicted on criminal charges. According to the text of the indictment, Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust in Cases 1000 and 2000—and bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000. The charges were filed hours after Netanyahu announced he would withdraw a request for parliamentary immunity from the indictment. His announcement came mere hours before the Knesset was set to form a committee to debate—and likely reject—the immunity request. Israeli critics of Netanyahu have expressed concern that the timing of the US peace plan's release was an attempt to rescue Netanyahu from the immunity proceedings. Before traveling back to Israel to take part in the planned Knesset deliberation, Benny Gantz met with Trump on Monday. On Tuesday, Gantz asserted that Netanyahu could not run the country while standing trial. Netanyahu has been resolute in his defense, declaring his innocence, while simultaneously criticizing the legal procedures and processes.
Naama Issachar has finally returned home to Israel, following her release from a Russian prison. Issachar, 27, was sentenced last year to 7.5 years of prison time when roughly 10 grams of cannabis were found in her luggage during a flight layover in Moscow. After months of lobbying by Prime Minister Netanyahu, Issachar was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. Netanyahu was in Russia to personally greet Issachar upon her release, though he insisted that the main purpose for his trip was to update the Russian President on the US peace plan.
The 2020 Jewish and Israeli Film Festival has begun, showcasing award-winning films from around the world right here in Cincinnati. The festival features the best of the thriving independent film industry, showcasing established and emerging filmmakers and provocative, humorous, inspiring, and enlightening films. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.
Join the community on Tuesday, March 14 at 7:00 PM at the Mayerson JCC to hear from two diverse voices on the difficult topic of Arab-Jewish relations in Israel: an Israeli-Arab thought leader on this issue, and a Jewish government official from Israel’s conservative Likud party. Fore more information and to register, click here.