US President Donald Trump has finally unveiled his Middle East plan on Tuesday, during a press conference in Washington, as right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood by his side.
The entire plan consists of 80 pages, 50 of which outline possible political scenarios, while the rest details an economic proposal that Washington had already introduced last July, during a conference in Manama, Bahrain.
The economic plan vowed to set up a $50 billion fund to help revive the Palestinian economy, with Jordan, Egypt, and Israel also receiving shares of the proposed financial aid. However, media reports indicate that little funding has been pledged so far to turn the Bahrain plan into action.
Trump’s Washington announcement is considered the political component of what has largely been termed as “Deal of the Century”.
Yes to Settlements
According to the long-delayed plan, the US will officially recognize Israel’s illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.
Trump has further indicated that Israel would also have control over all ‘security-related matter’s in the occupied Palestinian territories.
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) January 28, 2020
“(Israel) will not have to uproot any settlements, and will incorporate the vast majority of Israeli settlements into contiguous Israeli territory. Israeli enclaves located inside contiguous Palestinian territory will become part of the State of Israel and be connected to it through an effective transportation system.”
No to Palestinian State
Although Trump’s plan makes references to the creation of a Palestinian state, it imposes “limitations of certain sovereign powers in the Palestinian areas (..) such as maintenance of Israeli security responsibility and Israeli control of the airspace west of the Jordan river.”
The ill-defined Palestinian State is itself conditioned on the Palestinian leadership meeting a number of conditions, including the rejection of ‘terror’.
“The State of Israel, the State of Palestine and the Arab countries will work together to counter Hezbollah, ISIS, Hamas .. and all other terrorist groups and organizations, as well as other extremist groups.”
Jerusalem for Israel Only
The plan refers to Israel, “unlike many previous powers that had ruled Jerusalem, and had destroyed the holy sites of other faiths,” as a “good custodian of Jerusalem.”
“The State of Israel is to be commended for safeguarding the religious sites of all and maintaining a religious status quo,” the document added.
— Richard Hardigan (@RichardHardigan) January 25, 2020
The US plan envisions Jerusalem as the “undivided” capital of Israel, as already declared by the Trump administration on December 6, 2017.
The plan, however, proposes to get Palestinians limited sovereignty over few neighborhoods adjacent to the Israeli separation wall built illegally in occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem.
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) January 27, 2020
“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.”
No ‘Siege’ on Gaza
The document states that the people of Gaza “have suffered for too long under the repressive rule of Hamas,” referring to the democratically elected Palestinian movement which is, along with two million Palestinians, left under a hermetic Israeli siege in the impoverished Gaza Strip.
'Things Will Change for Us': The Struggle for Life in Gaza – Gaza will become unlivable by 2020, according to an UN report. Palestine Chronicle #EndIsraeliSiege #FreeGaza https://t.co/sR9n4BBK1q pic.twitter.com/pXFaiJzJXa
— Mirna Miranda (@MirandaMirna) January 3, 2020
There was no single reference in all 80 pages to the 14-year-old Israeli siege on Gaza.
For Gaza to be included in any future peace agreement, it would have to be demilitarized and fall under the control of the Palestinian Authority or any other party that is recognized by Israel.
“There shall be no right of return by, or absorption of, any Palestinian refugee into the State of Israel,” the plan stipulates.
My Palestinian right of return is sacred https://t.co/QnlcbhXfH6
— Doc Jazz ✌ طارق (@docjazzmusic) May 16, 2018
What is described as the “refugee problem” should be solved by Palestine’s “Arab brothers,” who “have the moral responsibility to integrate them into their countries as the Jews were integrated into the State of Israel.”
(The Palestine Chronicle)