President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” has both sides making concessions for a final peace settlement, but the Israeli government will have to “pay a higher price” in return for the President’s recognition of Jerusalem and his relocation of the US embassy there.
The United States Middle East peace plan will let Israel keep three major settlement blocs while 90% of the West Bank will be allocated for a Palestinian state, Israel’s Channel 13 reported on Wednesday.
Citing a “senior American official”, the report revealed that the peace plan will allow Israel to annex the settlements of the Etzion Bloc, Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel, while requiring Israel to dismantle a number of illegal outposts across the West Bank.
Isolated settlements in the West Bank, such as Itamar, Itzhar and Tapuah, will not be evacuated but will neither be permitted to grow, the report said.
As for Jerusalem, which is among the most contentious issues in Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the holy city would be divided into two capitals; the area with a Jewish majority, such as West Jerusalem and parts of East Jerusalem, would serve as Israel’s capital while the Arab-majority part of the city, mostly East Jerusalem and the Palestinian neighborhoods, would be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The holy places would remain under Israeli sovereignty but would be administered jointly by Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordan.
The Trump administration apparently anticipates a straight out rejection from the Palestinians but urge Israel to show a willingness to negotiate.
“As in the past, speculation with regards to the content of the plan is not accurate. We have no further comment,” the official said.
The peace plan was supposed to have been revealed in the beginning of 2019 but has reportedly been stalled since elections in Israel were called by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in December.
A senior US official told local media agencies that Israel’s early elections are “one of many factors we are considering in evaluating the timing of the release of the peace plan.”
Trump has made forging the “deal of the century” and ending the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict a cornerstone of his administration’s foreign policy agenda, tasking his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and Greenblatt with reviving stalled peace negotiations between the two sides.
After furious shuttle diplomacy and apparent progress in 2017, the effort came to a screeching halt after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December, prompting the Palestinians to boycott the Trump administration.
Trump’s recognition of the disputed city as Israel’s capital ruptured decades of international consensus that Jerusalem’s status should be settled as part of a two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
Trump has insisted that the move has not predetermined the final status of the city.
Since then, the White House has reduced its previously generous aid program to the Palestinians to a trickle, imposing a series of punitive measures meant to pressure their return to the negotiating table.
Trump has previously said that both sides would have to make concessions in any final settlement, adding that the Israeli government will have to “pay a higher price” in return for his recognition of Jerusalem and his relocation of the US embassy there.
Several of Trump’s predecessors have played leading roles in trying to bring an end to the conflict, including Jimmy Carter, who brokered the 1978 Camp David agreement, which saw Egypt and Jordan formally recognize Israel.
Bill Clinton oversaw the Oslo peace accords in 1993 which spelled out the aim of a two-state solution and allowed for the creation of the Palestinian Authority which is meant to rule over the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
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