On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s administration stunned the entire Arab world by proposing the peace deal of the millennium. It’s such a fair compromise it’s hard to see how it could go wrong. Palestinians are still a little suspicious. They’ve been fighting the Israelis for so many generations that they don’t know any other way of life.
Under Trump’s proposal, Palestine would be granted it’s very own state, side by side with the Jews. The capital would be Abu Dis, a neighborhood on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem. Now, it’s up to Palestinians. The whole deal is conditioned on them creating a bona fide government. That’s the tricky part. Hopefully, they will get a team to the negotiating table soon.
Senior administration officials laid the plan out for reporters ahead of the formal White House announcement. Under the terms of the deal, The United States will formally recognize existing Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank. Israel agrees to freeze settlement activity there while the final deal is worked out. If all goes well, there won’t be any additional settlers on the Palestinian claimed West Bank.
Trump signed off on a proposed map that would double the current size of the land controlled by Palestinians and would be conveniently connected with their current holdings “by roads, bridges and tunnels.”
Trump got together on Monday with both Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival in Israel’s upcoming election, Benny Gantz, to brief them on the plan. Both loved the idea and expressed their full support. Officials in the Israeli government “have agreed to negotiate on the basis of the Trump plan and agreed to the map.” Their only condition is that Palestinian statehood depends on “a security arrangement to protect Israelis.”
Israel assures their neighbors they “will also take steps to ensure Muslim access to al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and respect Jordan’s role regarding holy sites. Trumps plan not only lays out a path for “Palestinians to be able to return to a future state of Palestine,” it also sets up a “generous compensation fund.”
Palestinians didn’t even wait to read it before shooting it down, but everyone expected that. “U.S. officials said they were braced for initial Palestinian skepticism but hoped that over time they will agree to negotiate,” Reuters reports. Before the plan was released, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said “he would not agree to any deal that did not secure a two-state solution.” Well, he got it but he’s still sulking.
Hamas protesters are already setting blazes in the streets to condemn Trump’s “aggressive” plot. It still hasn’t sunk in that they won their main objective. “Confounding some predictions, the proposals included a two-state solution.” Mahmoud Abbas, leader of what will likely become the new government isn’t talking, but a spokesman for his party predicts “Trump’s plan will go to the trashes of history.”
For their part, Jordan is thrilled with the proposal. “Jordan supports every genuine effort aimed at achieving just and comprehensive peace that people will accept,” their foreign minister Ayman Safadi said in a statement. He’s all for it as long as there are “serious and direct negotiations that solve all final status issues, including protecting Jordan’s interests.”