by: Jo Sarah Stanford
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 | Israelis, Palestinians and the whole world are still awaiting US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” plan for peaceful coexistence between the Israelis and Palestinians. A recent report from the Washington Post suggests that the long-awaited Middle East peace plan will not include a Palestinian state.
The peace plan has been two years in the making, during which time few details have emerged. US senior advisor and President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been working on the plan with a select few advisors—including special representative Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman—keeping most details under wraps until the plan can be revealed as a whole.
The Trump administration has on a number of occasions broken with decades of US policy regarding the Middle East, as shown by the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The “Deal of the Century” appears as if it will follow a similar path where a Palestinian state is concerned.
“…what has been tried in the past has not worked,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Kushner. “Thus, we have taken an unconventional approach founded on not hiding from reality, but instead speaking truth.”
As far as an independent Palestinian state is concerned, the plan will reportedly focus on “autonomy” instead of “sovereignty” and will “place more emphasis on broad economic opportunities for Palestinians alongside an effort to implement Israeli control of the disputed West Bank (Judea and Samaria) territory,” reported i24News. It will also focus heavily on Israeli security.
While not giving any specifics, Kushner said the plan “is very detailed and will focus on delineating the border and providing solutions to the main issues that are controversial and will be appropriate for the current situation on the ground,” Arutz Sheva wrote.
US officials have continuously highlighted that the plan will require concessions on both sides.
The publication of the plan has been delayed multiple times, most recently pushed back until after the Israeli elections. Currently it appears that it will be released late May or even June, but no official date has been set.
In February, Kushner toured the Arabs states, speaking to government officials and ambassadors, laying the ground work for when the peace plan is eventually revealed. For it to succeed, support from surrounding countries is needed.
So far the plan has been met with outright opposition from the Palestinians—one of the parties to the peace plan.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has already rejected the plan outright.
“We have many difficult and complicated tasks, first of which is the ‘Deal of the Century,’ of which I think nothing is left undeclared,” he said over the weekend, despite the fact that the plan has not yet been revealed.
Abbas has stubbornly refused to deal with the US ever since President Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The deal is no exception—“because it excluded Jerusalem from Palestine, and therefore we do not want the rest. There is no state without Jerusalem…”
Opposition has also come from Europe. On Sunday, twenty-nine former top European officials—including six past prime ministers—sent a co-signed letter to the European Union (EU) urging them to reject Trump’s “Deal of the Century” if it does not include a two-state solution. In the letter they demanded “a Palestinian state alongside Israel on borders based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed, minimal and equal land swaps; with Jerusalem as the capital for both states,” reported World Israel News.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, has said he will consider the plan. “We have a fresh approach, a new approach, and I want to congratulate both Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt for taking the file,” Arutz Sheva quoted the prime minister. “Of course we’ll wait to see what the final plan will look like.”
Posted on April 16, 2019
Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 16, 2019)
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