The key points of the Trump Middle East peace plan, explained

The key points of the Trump Middle East peace plan, explained

January 28, 2020

By Gabe Friedman

President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan on Tuesday, and the release event was a doozy.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined Trump at a news conference and compared it to President Harry Truman’s recognition of the State of Israel in 1948. Netanyahu also snuck in the fact that as part of the plan’s starting framework, he will look to apply Israeli sovereignty over territory that much of the international community considers illegally occupied. 

In the most basic sense, the plan is a two-state solution. But the statements from Trump and Netanyahu, along with the text of the plan, which was released in full (181 pages, to be exact) have already triggered a wave of speculation and more than a little confusion.

Here’s a breakdown of the plan’s most basic components and what they mean moving forward.

Two states, sort of

At its core, the plan proposes a two-state solution, ideally envisioning an autonomous Palestinian state. This line of thinking, endorsed by every U.S. president dating back to Bill Clinton in the 1990s, has lost some support since Trump took office.

However, as U.S. Ambassador David Friedman stressed in a phone call with reporters following the news conference, Israel would retain security control over all the land that would include a Palestinian state. So even though the Palestinians would have their own system of government throughout their state, Israeli forces would still be allowed to patrol and exert their will in the area — as Friedman described it, “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

That is essentially how Israeli soldiers act now: They are not a constant presence in Palestinian areas, but they move in and out as they please. In that sense, life for Palestinians in the West Bank would not change much. 

But another provision of the plan — allowing Palestinians to move freely between the West Bank and Gaza — would be a major change. Palestinians currently cannot move between the two areas without Israeli approval, which is rarely granted. Family members and others would no longer be separated as they are now. 

Borders for a Palestinian state

The plan also contains something that past U.S. proposals haven’t included: a specific map that delineates what the potential Israeli and Palestinian state borders would be.

The proposed Palestinian state would consist of most of the West Bank (about 80 percent, according to estimates), the mostly undeveloped territory between Jerusalem and Jordan, and Gaza, the strip of land in the middle of Israel’s western coast.

The plan also leaves the possibility of later adding the so-called “Triangle” — a collection of Arab towns adjacent to the West Bank but part of Israel proper — to a Palestinian state, if both parties agree.

Controversial moves ahead for Israel

Under the plan, controversial parts of the West Bank would become officially recognized Israeli territory.

This includes all of the Israeli “communities” — code word for settlements — that are dotted throughout the potential future Palestinian state, as well as the Jordan Valley, the strategically important swath of land that Israel has largely controlled since the Six-Day War in 1967.

A four-year time frame

The plan gives the Israelis and Palestinians four years to accept these borders.

Netanyahu announced at Tuesday’s news conference that during that time, Israel will freeze any new settlement construction that would encroach on the Palestinian state outlined in the peace plan.

However, he also said that Israel will look to immediately “apply its laws” to existing settlements and the Jordan Valley, whether or not the Palestinians signal that they will buy into the U.S. proposal.

Subtle semantics

To some, this may sound like Netanyahu is using the plan’s release as an opportunity to annex that territory right away, as he has long desired.

Netanyahu was careful not to use the word “annex” in his remarks on Tuesday, preferring the “apply its law” usage. That could be his way of making the dramatic move more palatable to the international community, which undoubtedly will criticize the Israeli leader. 

Moving forward, look for the language over this issue to be debated.

Hamas has to go

Another key part of the plan involves the dismantling of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two Palestinian groups seen as terrorists by a large part of the international community. Hamas currently governs Gaza with an iron fist, so removing it would significantly change the coastal strip.

Palestinian officials also would have to agree to stop its policy of paying the families of terrorists who attack Israelis.

High-speed rail and other incentives

The plan also aims to create a high-speed rail connection between the West Bank and Gaza, two Palestinian areas that feel physically sequestered because of Israeli security policies.

The “Trump Economic Plan” portion of the document says that the accord has the “potential to facilitate more than $50 billion of investment over ten years.” It doesn’t get into detail about where that would come from, but it likely means from the U.S. and a coalition of Arab states that support the plan.

Slim chances of success — except for Netanyahu

It’s safe to say, at least at this point, that the plan’s chance of success — success meaning that the Palestinians will agree to it — is close to nil.

That’s because the mere release of this plan is a big win for Netanyahu and the mainstream Israeli right. It codifies the full U.S. support of Israel’s eventual annexation of the West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley, which Israel says is both vital to its security and is part of its rightful ancestral territory.

It also keeps security control of both states — essentially everything from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, as Friedman put it — under Israel’s purview.

The only thing that might remotely worry Netanyahu is how the proposed settlement freeze will play among Israeli settlers, a demographic he has fiercely courted over his record tenure as prime minister (especially since 2015).

Trump likely hopes that this will give him a boost not just in Israel, where the key aspects of the plan are popular, but also at home, where his impeachment trial rages on. The plan’s unveiling also could be a ploy to distract some Americans’ attention from the trial.

The plot has thickened considerably for Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s political rival. Since Gantz has dismissed the idea of governing with Netanyahu under a unity coalition and rotating the prime minister title, it’s notable that he has wholeheartedly endorsed the plan (at least according to Trump). It could signal that some form of reconciliation is on the horizon before yet another Israeli election in March — its third in less than a year.

As for the Palestinians, they are almost certain to object to the map in the plan from the outset. The proposed lack of security control will be seen as a deal breaker, and the Israeli West Bank settlements present all kinds of complications. It would be a Swiss cheese state.

But even if the Palestinians completely reject the plan, could it jump-start a new series of talks between Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas? We’ll have to wait and see.

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About the Author
Stew Webb served in the United States Marine Corps and was Honorable Discharge. Stew was a Realtor-General Contractor-Home Builder until 3 car crashes in 2010-2011 (attempted murders see picture my Van on concrete barrier below Breaking News column) and is now disabled. Stew turned Federal Whistle blower - Activist of 39 years and has been a guest on over 4,000 Radio and TV Programs since September 18, 1991 and now has his own Radio Network .Stew was responsible for the Congressional Investigations and Hearings that lead to the Appointment of Independent Prosecutor Arlin Adams in the 1989 HUD Hearings, the Silverado Savings and Loan Hearings Neil Bush Director, the Denver International Airport Frauds Hearings, the MDC Holdings, Inc. (MDC-NYSE) Illegal Political Campaign Money Laundering Colorado’s biggest case aka Keating 5 Hearings and the information provided that lead to the 2008 Illegal Bank Bailout. Stew was held as a Political Prisoner from 1992-1993 to silence his exposure by Leonard Millman his former in law with illegal charges of threatening harassing telephone calls charges which were dismissed with prejudice. Leonard Millman, George HW Bush, George W Bush, Jeb Bush, Neil Bush, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Larry Mizel, Phil Winn, Norman Brownstein, John McCain and Mitt Romney to name a few are all partners in what is known as the Bush - Millman - Clinton Organized Crime Syndicate. Leonard Millman (Deceased 2004) was member of the "Illuminati Council of 13". Larry Mizel is now in control of this Organized Crime Syndicate RICO. I have contributed to the following books: * “Defrauding America”, by Rodney Stitch * "Drugging America", by Rodney Stitch * “The Mafia, CIA and George Bush” by Pete Brewton * “The Oklahoma City Bombing Power of Politics”, by David Hoffman * “Bushwacked” by Uri Dowbenko * “Silverado Savings and Loan” by Steve Wilmsen * “Drugging America” by Rodney Stitch * I was instrumental in brokering a deal that has lead to Al Martin’s new book “The Conspirators”, I have known Al since 1991, when I had to hide from the FBI who tried to jail me for exposing,“The Bush Crime Family-Denver Connection-King Pin Leonard Millman”, my former-father-in-law. @@@@@ (Your kind and generous contributions are much appreciated and needed, Please copy and paste the link below into your browser to contribute today thank you Stew Webb. Contributions by mail: Stew Webb 12820 SW K-4 HWY #B Topeka, Kansas 66601-9749 Phone: 785-213-0160)


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