We Need a Radical Prophetic Position on Israel/Palestine | Sojourners

We Need a Radical Prophetic Position on Israel/Palestine

Simply reversing Trump's more extreme policies will not be enough.
Illustration of a chained link fence and barbed wire.
Illustration by Michael George Haddad

THE TRUMP administration was an utter catastrophe for those who care about justice and peace in Israel/Palestine. U.S. policy was entrusted to right-wing settlement supporters such as Ambassador David Friedman and Jared Kushner and Christian Zionists such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The administration applauded—and legalized—settlement expansion, showing utter disdain for international law. They displayed blatant antagonism to Palestinians by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, cutting off financial aid to Palestinian hospitals and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, and closing the Palestinian Liberation Organization office in Washington. They capped it all by promoting fake “peace” alternatives, such as Trump’s disastrous “Peace to Prosperity” plan and the normalization agreements with Gulf countries. These policies aimed to appease the most hard-right policies of Israel and the eschatological fantasies of evangelical Christian Zionists, rather than seeking genuine peace or justice.

The Biden administration is likely to reverse some of these extreme steps. Biden has already signaled, however, that he would not reverse the embassy move, nor support any measures for conditioning aid to Israel based on its behavior. Biden’s policy will likely be marked by a return to the traditional policies of the Obama era, which included anemic objections to renewed settlement expansion, verbal support for a two-state solution, and vague references to international law, while resisting any pressure on Israel to actually comply with international law or create a sovereign Palestinian state.

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The cover of the February 2021 issue features a photo of artist Makoto Fujimura painting a cup.
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