Trump plan calls for Palestinian state, settlement freeze

 

Arab News
Tuesday . January 28, 2020

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The US president will be joined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the press conference in Washington scheduled for 5pm GMT

WASHINGTON: US officials said Tuesday President Donald Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan calls for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in portions of east Jerusalem, ending speculation as to whether his administration, in preparing a proposal without input from Palestinian leaders, would abandon a “two-state resolution” to the conflict.

The officials said the plan to be unveiled on Tuesday more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control, although it also recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, something to which the Palestinians will almost certainly object. The Palestinians have already rejected the proposal, accusing Trump of being biased in favor of Israel as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at their expense.

The plan does call for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Trump’s announcement. However, it was not immediately clear if the freeze could be extended if a final deal is not concluded in the four years.

The 50-page 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, according to the officials.

The officials said that both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political challenger in March elections, Benny Gantz, had signed off on the plan. Netanyahu will be beside Trump as he unveils the plan at the White House.

The event comes as Trump’s impeachment trial continues in the Senate.

Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed to meet in the West Bank city of Ramallah to discuss a response to Trump.

The Arab League said it will convene an urgent meeting on Saturday in response to the peace plan.

Hossam Zaki, the pan-Arab body’s deputy secretary, said Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas would attend to discuss the “so-called Deal of the Century.”
*With Wires

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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