The White House likes to pretend it’s breaking with tradition. In fact, it’s recycling old maps and ideas.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his top aides pride themselves on thinking outside the box and boldly challenging conventional wisdom. “We’ve taken an unconventional approach,” Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and the architect of the recently released U.S. Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, boasted of his work. “If people focus on the old, traditional talking points, we will never make progress,” he argued.
But the Trump plan is actually as traditional as it gets. In fact, it bears striking resemblance to another plan published more than 40 years ago. In 1979, the World Zionist Organization released a plan titled “Master Plan for the Development of Settlements in Judea and Samaria, 1979–1983,” written by Matityahu Drobles, a former member of the Knesset for the Herut-Liberal Bloc—a precursor to today’s Likud party—and the head of the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division, the body responsible for planning and building settlements.
His plan was basically a detailed attempt to execute the then-Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan for settlement expansion—a task that successive Israeli governments carried out with great zeal over the following four decades, placing 640,000 settlers in key areas throughout the West Bank. Trump’s vision is actually Drobles 2.0.
1979 Drobles Plan vs. 2020 Trump Plan
Left: The author’s recreation of the Israeli-Palestinian map included in the Drobles plan.
Right: The map included in the Trump plan.