President Trump Unveils Long Awaited Middle-East Peace Plan
President Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle-East peace plan with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, Jan. 28. According to both, the plan provides for a “realistic two-state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians. While Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel, the Palestinians are to be given a capital of their own in East Jerusalem.
More Details On The Peace Plan
The plan includes concrete proposals for a solution—different, according to Trump, to all previous attempts that aimed to provide peace since the Lyndon B. Johnson days. Both Netanyahu and his competitor Benny Gantz had assured Trump of their support for the plan, which they consider would make the region safer and more prosperous and would be a win for both sides. The latter is crucial, as Israel’s election is scheduled for March 2. A scenario in which Gantz becomes Israel’s new Prime Minister is not inconceivable.
Netanyahu thanked Trump for his initiative and this “fantastic deal,” which, most importantly, recognized Israel’s territorial claims in the West Bank. Moreover, Netanyahu was pleased that Trump had put an end to the “big lie” that these places were areas occupied by Israel.
Netanyahu was ready to negotiate with the Palestinians about a “path” to a future Palestinian state. For this to materialize, however, the Palestinians would have to recognize the Jewish state first. In return, Israel would agree to a four-year stop on settlements, while a Palestinian state is being negotiated.
Palestinians Would Be Rewarded For Compliance
The Palestinians should surrender their weapons and accept Israel’s responsibility for security in the West Bank. Over time, the Palestinians could “take more responsibility for security,” and Israel could withdraw its operations there, while it retains the right to defend itself against “any threat” to its security. An exact schedule was not provided, however.
If approved, the Palestinians would receive help and investment to reduce poverty and unemployment, Trump said. The Palestinian economy could “double or triple” if the plan were adopted, the President promised. The US and numerous other states are ready to “help the Palestinians in many ways” if they are ready to make peace and end violence and terrorism, Trump said.
Concerns That Plan Is Not Workable
However, the most recent reactions have not indicated that peace is currently conceivable. The plan’s framework had been publicized in advance, and the Palestinians had already criticized it as a “conspiracy against Palestinians.” They threatened to withdraw from the Oslo Accords. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh claimed the plan was violating international law also.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State had issued an audio message on Monday calling on all Muslims to attack Jews and Jewish settlements to cause the Middle East peace plan to fail. Tehran had an opinion on the plan also. An adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called it “one-sided” in a tweet, full of “sanctions and impositions.”
Today, a representative of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip called Trump’s plan “aggressive,” the proposal regarding Jerusalem “nonsense”: “Jerusalem will always be the land of the Palestinians,” the terrorists claimed.
Palestinian Protesters Burn US Flags: ‘The Plan Will Not Get Through’
Thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets in Gaza City. On Tuesday, protesters burned tires, US flags, and pictures of Trump under the cries of “The plan will not get through.” There were also protests against the Middle East plan in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. In Nablus and Ramallah in the West Bank, rallies are planned to last until late at night.
The most indicative response so far, however, has come from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who said: “1000 times no to this deal”. It was not the deal of the century, but “the slap of the century.” Abbas announced that he would immediately start taking measures “that require changing the role of the Palestinian Authority in accordance with resolutions taken by the PLO.” He did not specify the nature of the measures.
Negotiations are all about compromises. However, not only have the Palestinians historically not been inclined to grant these, but their track record of missing out on several previous opportunities is well documented.
The Plan Is A Path To Peace—If The Palestinians Will Take It
The plan announced today is yet another significant opportunity for Palestinians for a way out of a—by their own choice—current devastating situation and towards independence, dignity, and doubling their territory. Moreover, it is a path to peace in the region and prosperity via the 50-billion-dollar economic plan that has the power to fully transform Palestinian lives forever.
The plan unveiled today will by no means be written in stone, and adjustments can always be made if the Palestinians prefer it and both sides agree. However, the immediate posturing and hate by the actors involved that has yet again transpired indicates that peace has never been, and likely never will be, on top of the Palestinian agenda.