U.S. President Donald Trump has unveiled a sweeping Middle East peace plan that his administration claims will end decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict by offering concessions to both sides. But even the optics of the announcement — with Trump standing beside Israel's caretaker prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and no Palestinian anywhere to be seen — revealed just how disingenuous that claim is.

Effective peace negotiations require a perfectly calibrated interchange between process and content. In the case of Trump's peace plan, the process was clearly a sham. It is not just that no Palestinian leader attended the announcement; none has been invited to the White House since Trump — the leader of the most pro-Israeli U.S. administration in history — moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, in May 2018.

By contrast, Netanyahu has made five trips to the United States since Trump took office, including to seize this latest opportunity to gloat. Underscoring his contempt for the group with whom he supposedly wants to make peace, Netanyahu refused so much as to utter the word "Palestinians" during the initial Oval Office meeting.