WASHINGTON — American President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday unveiled what the president has called “the deal of the century” for a two-state peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Our proposal finds precise technical solutions to make Israelis, Palestinians and the region safer and much more prosperous. My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution,” Trump said at the White House, adding that Netanyahu had agreed to negotiations with the Palestinians.
The plan calls for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem, and more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control.
But it also recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, something to which the Palestinians will almost certainly object.
The Palestinians, in fact, rejected the proposal before its rollout, accusing Trump of being biased in favor of Israel as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at their expense.
The plan will also call for a four-year freeze on new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated.
However, it was not immediately clear if the freeze could be extended if a final deal is not concluded in the four years.
The political outline goes further in concessions to the Palestinians than many analysts had believed was likely.
However, it would require them to accept conditions they have been previously unwilling to consider, such as accepting West Bank settlements.
It builds on a 30-page economic plan for the West Bank and Gaza that was unveiled last June and which the Palestinians have also rejected.
Under the terms of the “peace vision” that Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working on for nearly three years, the future Palestinian state would consist of the West Bank and Gaza, connected by a combination of above-ground roads and tunnels.
“Today Israel takes a big step toward peace. Governments throughout the region [recognize] that terrorism and Islamic extremism are everyone’s common enemy,” the president said in announcing the plan from the White House.
Trump said he wrote to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas telling him that under his plan, there would be a four-year period during which Israel and the Palestinians would negotiate specifics of the boundaries — and that the US would help.
The plan includes a $50 billion US investment in Palestine, which Trump vowed would create more than 1 million jobs over the next 10 years, empowering the sovereign state.
Trump said he had been personally anguished by the plight of the Palestinian people and called on the country to condemn terror group Hamas and empower itself, saying it was time for this “sad chapter in history to end.”
“They deserve a far better life. They deserve the chance to achieve their extraordinary potential,” Trump said.
“Palestinians have been trapped in a cycle of terrorism, poverty and violence, exploited by those seeking to use them as pawns to advance terrorism and extremism.”
Netanyahu thanked Trump and his delegation as well as American officials who helped negotiate the proposal.
“This is a historic day, and it recalls another historic day. We remember May 14, 1948, because on that day, President [Harry] Truman became the first world leader to recognize the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said, adding that Jan. 28, 2020, would also go down in history.
“We will also recognize [Trump] for recognizing areas of Judea and Sumeria that are vital to our security and central to our heritage. You, Mr. President, recognize that Israel must have sovereignty over the Jordan Valley,” he said.
Earlier, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated against Trump’s peace plan hours before its scheduled release at the ceremony at the White House.
In Gaza City on Tuesday, protesters waved Palestinian flags and held aloft posters of Abbas.
“Trump is a fool, Palestine is not for sale!” an activist shouted through a loudspeaker.
Others chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” as they burned tires and posters of Trump. More protests were expected after Trump announced details of his plan later in the day.
Israeli troops, meanwhile, reinforced positions near a flash point site between the Palestinian city of Ramallah and the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
While Israeli leaders have welcomed Trump’s long-delayed plan, Palestinian leaders called it dead on arrival and proof that the Trump administration was biased toward Israel.
News from the https://nypost.com/