WASHINGTON: President Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan with a flourish on Monday, outlining a proposal that would give Israel most of what it has sought over decades of conflict while creating what he called a Palestinian state with limited sovereignty.
Trump’s plan would guarantee that Israel would control a unified Jerusalem as its capital and not require it to uproot any of the settlements in the West Bank that have provoked Palestinian outrage and alienated much of the outside world. He promised to provide $50 billion in international financing to build the new Palestinian entity and open an embassy in its new state.
“My vision presents a winwin opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood into security,” the president said at a White House ceremony that demonstrated the one-sided state of affairs as he was flanked by PM Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel but no counterpart from the Palestinian leadership, which is not on speaking terms with the Trump administration. Trump insisted his plan would be good for the Palestinians and in his speech reached out to President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. “President Abbas,” he said, “I want you to know if you choose the path to peace, America and many other countries, we will be there, we will be there to help you in so many different ways.”
Nearly three years in the making and overseen by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the plan is the latest of numerous American efforts to settle the seventy-plus year conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But it marks a sharp turn in the American approach, dropping decades of American support for only modest adjustments to Israeli borders drawn in a 1967 armistice and discarding the longtime goal of granting the Palestinians a full-fledged state.
The proposal imagines new Israeli borders that cut far into the West Bank, and, at least in the short term, calls for what Netanyahu has described as a Palestinian “stateminus,” lacking an army or air force. Trump said it was the first time that Israel had authorised the release of such a conceptual map illustrating territorial compromises it would make. He said it would “more than double Palestinian territory” while ensuring that “no Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes.”
Netanyahu called it ”a realistic path to a durable peace”. Calling Trump the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House, Netanyahu added: “It’s a great plan for Israel. It’s a great plan for peace.”
Early in his presidency, Trump suggested that a peace deal would be “frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years.” By asking the Palestinians to make far more territorial concessions than past proposals, it provides an American imprimatur of support to decades of aggressive Israeli settlement building in Palestinian areas seized in two wars between Israel and Arab states. And it sends a grim message to the Palestinians that they have missed their chance to win the “two state solution” they long pursued — as least so long as Trump is president.

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