Last January, President Trump unveiled a middle east peace plan, aka “Trump Plan or Vision for Peace”. The Israelis welcomed the plan for the most part while the Palestinians rejected it and there have been no negotiations between the parties regarding the possible implementation of this plan. The new Israeli government has said that they may move forward moving forward unilaterally and possibly annex some or all parts of the West Bank region on or after July 1, 2020, however, according to the Trump plan, the US is suppose to give its consent which has not yet occurred.
The contested region is biblically known as Judea and Samaria and is the location for many of the stories from the bible. As such for many believers, it is considered the heart of any Jewish state. But, it is not that simple as many people have lived on this land for thousands of years and it has been governed by many empires and countries including the Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Ottomans, British, Jordan and, since 1967, Israel (and after the Oslo Accords the Palestinian Authority took administrative control of some portions).
In order to understand the biblical history as well as the modern realities and untangle the concept of annexation and its ramifications on the people that live in this region we held a special virtual tour with special guest, former US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro.
The program examined the ancient tribes and their locations, the biblical villages as well as the land settlement during the time of Jesus. It also attempted to explain the settlement movement that occurred during modern day history, specifically since 1967, when Israel captured the West Bank region as a result of the Six Day War. This history provided a backdrop to the modern realities including the three large settlement blocks of Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim and Ariel that Ambassador Shapiro explained would likely remain as part of Israel (with land swaps) under negotiations that have previously been discussed by both parties. The current Trump plan that was then presented along with a discussion of the possible impact of a unilateral annexation on the concept of a solution involving two viable states, living side by side, Israel and Palestine.
Travelujah offers virtual tours every Sunday at 2 pm EST. Contact us if you would like to a schedule of our upcoming online tours.