This one stands apart from the failed attempts before it because this one is built around specific details rather than just broad concepts.
Trump and Netanyahu announced an 80-page peace initiative that had been carefully crafted with plenty of input from interested parties, and have laid out what they both believe to be the region’s best shot at a durable peace.
Nobody is so naive that they are calling it a slam dunk. And as predicted, the Palestinians took a stand against it, even before it was announced. That doesn’t affect their opportunity to reconsider and come to the table. At a minimum, it offers a possible path forward to a two-state solution.
It’s even a solution wherein both sides get to claim Jerusalem as their capital.
Will there be concessions? Of course there will.
But here’s the bright future that could be waiting for both sides if they can ever find a way to work it out:
This is what a future State of Palestine can look like, with a capital in parts of East Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/39vw3pPrAL
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2020
Catch the full press conference where The President and Bibi announce what they’re unveiling here:
It recently became possible to move forward with this proposal when Bibi’s rival aligned with Bibi and Trump on key land policy agendas. Thus it would not be understood as Trump pitting one party’s ideas against the other’s, which might tilt the scales in the middle of an ongoing election.
Should the Palestinians accept it? One observer gives his reasons why they should:
The fact is that no matter what parts of this deal the Palestinians find objectionable, history shows us that every time the Palestinians reject statehood things usually end up getting worse for them. On top of that, the subsequent offers turn out to be not as favorable to Palestinians on borders and sovereignty. Of course, the Palestinians don’t have to forget whatever aspects of this deal they don’t like. But they should follow the examples of India, Pakistan, and Israel itself as nations that all accepted far less than perfect statehood offers instead of risking losing their chance at independence forever.
Here’s a quick summary of the deal’s highlights by a regional paper:
Borders: Trump’s plan features a map of what Israel’s new borders will be should it enact the plan fully. Israel retains 20% of the West Bank, and will lose a small amount of land in the Negev, near the Gaza-Egypt border. The Palestinians will have a pathway to a state on 80% of the West Bank. Israel will maintain control of all borders. This is the first time a US president has provided a detailed map of this kind.
Jerusalem: The Palestinians will have a capital in Jerusalem based on northern and eastern neighborhoods that are outside the Israeli security fence – Kfar Aqab, Abu Dis and half of Shuafat.
Settlements: Israel would retain the Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, in the broadest definition possible, meaning not the municipal borders of each settlement, but their security perimeters. This also includes 15 isolated settlements, which will be enclaves within an eventual Palestinian state, unable to expand for four years. The IDF will have access to the isolated settlements. In order for the settlement part of the plan to go into effect, Israel will have to take action to apply sovereignty to the settlements.
Security: Israel will be in control of security from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The IDF will not have to leave the West Bank. No change to Israel’s approach to Judea and Samaria would be needed.
Palestinian State: The plan does not include immediate recognition of a Palestinian state; rather, it expects a willingness on Israel’s part to create a pathway towards Palestinian statehood based on specific territory, which is 80% of Judea and Samaria, including areas A and B and half of Area C. The state will only come into existence in four years if the Palestinians accept the plan, if the Palestinian Authority stops paying terrorists and inciting terror, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad put down its weapons. In addition, the American plan calls on the Palestinians to give up corruption, respect human rights, freedom of religion and a free press, so that they don’t have a failed state. If those conditions are met, the US will recognize a Palestinian state and implement a massive economic plan to assist it.