Trump Peace Plan: Palestinian state, Israeli Control of Settlements, Undivided Jerusalem

President Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, before unveiling a peace plan for the Middle East.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

US President Donald Trump unveiled his “Deal of the Century” peace plan on Tuesday in the White House, giving Israel full control of the settlements and Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The plan also established a Palestinian state.

“We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.  Instead, we are here to offer partnership – based on shared interests and values – to pursue a better future for us all,” the president said, as he unveiled a vision that the White House said is the “most serious, realistic and detailed plan ever presented, one that could make Israelis, Palestinians and the region safer and more prosperous.”

The plan, Trump said, has the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival, Blue and White head Benny Gantz.

“If [the Palestinians] are genuinely prepared to make peace with the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said in his remarks at the unveiling ceremony, “Israel will be prepared to negotiate peace right away.”

Trump said that the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over any land that “my vision provides to be part of the State of Israel” and will require the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish state and to agree to solve the refugee problem outside of Israel.

The Prime Minister is expected to vote on Sunday at the Cabinet meeting to immediately apply sovereignty to the territories in Judea and Samaria.

At the same time, “the sovereign capital of the State of Palestine should be in the section of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north of the existing security barrier, including Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat and Abu Dis, and could be named Al Quds or another name as determined by the State of Palestine,” the plan states.

For the first time in this conflict,Trump has reached an understanding with Israel regarding a map setting forth borders for a two-state solution. He said during the unveil that the map will make clear the “territorial sacrifices that Israel is willing to make for peace.”

The president explained that the plan will “more than double Palestinian territory… No Palestinians will be uprooted from their homes.”

The plan includes Palestinian use and management of facilities in Haifa and Ashdod ports, Palestinian development of a resort area in the north shore of the Dead Sea, and continued Palestinian agricultural activity in the Jordan Valley. Ultimately, the plan envisions “modern and efficient transportation links” through the future Palestinian state, including Gaza.

Moreover, he said that although Israel will maintain control of Jerusalem, the status quo will remain on the Temple Mount and “the special and historic role of the King of Jordan” with regard to the Muslim Holy Shrines in Jerusalem will be preserved.

“Jerusalem’s holy sites should remain open and available for peaceful worshippers and tourists of all faiths,” the plan states. “People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion, taking into account the times of each religion’s prayers and holidays, as well as other religious factors.”

The president said that if the Palestinians choose to accept the plan, some $50 billion will be infused into this new Palestinian state.

“There are many countries that want to partake in this,” he said. “The Palestinian poverty rate will be cut in half and their GDP will double and triple.” He then called for “peace and prosperity for the Palestinian people” and said that he knew he would have to “do a lot for the Palestinians or it just wouldn’t be fair.”

Trump has been bringing historic enemies in the region closer together, and his actions are promoting normalized relations between Israel and its neighbors. At the reception on Wednesday, ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates. Oman and Bahrain were present.

Their presence at the ceremony unveiling the plan was considered a significant step and a sign that the countries support the plan that has been denounced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The president made clear that to the two-state solution will present “no incremental security risk to the State of Israel whatsoever.“

Peace requires compromise, but we will never require Israel to compromise on its security,” Trump said.

Specifically, the plan provides for a demilitarized Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel, with Israel retaining security responsibility west of the Jordan River. According to Trump’s vision, over time, the Palestinians will work with the US and Israel to assume more security responsibility.

Netanyahu in his speech said that he has agreed to negotiate peace with the Palestinians on the basis of Trump’s peace plan. The prime minister noted several key reasons, including especially that rather than “play lip service to Israel’s security,” the president “recognizes that Israel must have sovereignty in places that enable Israel to defend itself by itself.

“For too long, the heart of Israel has been outrageously branded as illegally occupied territory,” Netanyahu continued. “Today, Mr. President, you are puncturing this big lie. You are recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – large and small alike.”

At remarks made to the press later in the day, the prime minister said that in his estimation, this peace plan “buries” the idea of a divided Jerusalem, of returning to 1967 borders and of the Palestinians’ right of return.

Netanyahu agreed to a four-year land freeze to secure the possibility of a two-state solution.

The Blue and White party also responded to the plan, saying, “President Trump’s Peace Plan provides a strong, viable basis for advancing a peace accord with the Palestinians, while preserving the existing arrangements between Israel and Jordan and Egypt, and enabling their expansion to additional countries in the region.

“All of this will naturally be subject to security arrangements, as underscored by Blue and White chairman LTG (res.) MK Benny Gantz, in his important meeting with the President of the United States yesterday,” the party concluded.

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