With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing by his side, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled his long-delayed Middle East plan, claiming that it would lay the foundations for a “realistic two-state solution” in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestinian leaders had rejected the plan even before its release and were absent during its unveiling. Following the announcement at the White House, Palestinians denounced the proposal as utterly biased in favour of Israel and insisted that “Jerusalem is not for sale”.
Trump called his plan an “historic opportunity” for Palestinians to achieve an independent state of their own by doubling the territory currently under their control. But under the proposal, the United States said Jerusalem would remain the “undivided capital” of Israel and it would recognise Israeli sovereignty over parts of the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians want both occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank to be part of a future state.
As many Palestinians used social media to express anger and, at times, mock the proposal, others warned that it would lead to “apartheid” within a single state.
Here are some of the key points included in Trump’s proposal:
According to the plan, Israel would annex “the vast majority” of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank which would be connected to the rest of Israel with their own access roads and a transportation system.
Ninety-seven percent of Israelis living in the West Bank would be incorporated into Israeli territory.
The Jordan Valley would also be under Israeli sovereignty, giving Israel a permanent eastern border along the Jordan River.
The Gaza Strip would be connected to the West Bank with a high-speed transportation link, crossing over or under Israel.
The plan also lays out the possibility that Israel’s current borders could be redrawn.
The so-called “Triangle Communities” consisting of 10 Palestinian towns in Israel: Kafr Qara, Ar’ara, Baha al-Gharbiyye, Umm al Fahm, Qalansawe, Tayibe, Kafr Qasim, Tira, Kafr Bara and Jaljulia could possibly be transferred to the State of Palestine.
According to Edo Konrad, editor-in-chief of Israeli news website 972 Magazine, 257,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel could find themselves outside the borders of Israel.
Trump's plan puts forth possibility that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that 10 Arab towns and cities INSIDE Israel will find themselves on the Palestinian side. That means 257,000 Israeli citizens might find themselves outside the borders of the country.
— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) January 28, 2020
Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel and “Al Quds (or another name selected by the State of Palestine)” should be internationally recognised for the State of Palestine, according to Trump’s plan.
The separation barrier would serve as a border between the two capitals.
The Palestinian state would not include any part of Jerusalem inside the current separation barrier which includes the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque located in the Old City and areas where most East Jerusalemites live.
The capital of Palestine will be in East Jerusalem, located in areas which Israel previously cut off with its separation barrier including Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat and Abu Dis.
The plan calls for the demilitarisation of all of Palestine and the disarmament of Palestinian factions in Gaza such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
Israel would control security at all international crossings into Palestine.
It would also continue to carry out surveillance of Palestinians within their own territory. Israel would rely on blimps, drones and similar aerial equipment “to reduce the Israeli security footprint” within the State of Palestine.
There would be no right of return of any Palestinian refugees or their descendants into Israel. According to the plan: “Their Arab brothers have the moral responsibility to integrate them into their countries as the Jews were integrated into the State of Israel.”
Upon the signing of an agreement as proposed under Trump’s Middle East plan, Palestinian refugee status would cease to exist and the United Nations‘s agency for Palestinian refugees would be terminated.
Prerequisites for a Palestinian State
Israel and the US would review the Palestinian school curriculum as a prerequisite for the creation of a Palestinian state.
“The Palestinians shall have ended all programs, including school curricula and textbooks, that serve to incite or promote hatred or antagonism towards its neighbours, or which compensate or incentivize criminal or violent activity,” the plan said.