Palestinians set to reject US peace plan

A girl holds a Palestinian flag in front of Israeli troops during clashes in Ramallah, Mar 7, 2018. (photo: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)

The peace plan contemplated by the Trump Administration will offer Palestinians limited sovereignty over limited territory.

By Uri Saver | Al-Monitor | Mar 25, 2018

The plan is much closer to the Israeli position than the Palestinian:

  • Two states
  • Palestine would comprise about half the West Bank
  • Gaza would be included if Hamas disarms
  • Israel would control West Bank security and border crossings
  • East Jerusalem would be part of Palestine, but not the Old City
  • No right of return

Despite growing tensions with the Palestinians, US President Donald Trump still intends to reveal a US peace plan for the Middle East. The plan will apparently be divulged right after the US Embassy moves to Jerusalem and after Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

According to a senior US diplomat in Tel Aviv, the fact that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refuses any contact on the matter with US officials and that he had bad mouthed David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, has not altered Trump’s determination. Actually, messages on the evolving plans are conveyed nowadays to Ramallah by Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. More so, the March 20 meeting in Washington between Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was largely dedicated to two major topics: the common front against Iran in the region (including the Iran nuclear deal issue) and Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The US diplomat explained that the White House strategy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue is based on a conservative regional view. The first priority of the White House is to curb Iran’s ambitions for nuclear weapons and its ambition to become the dominant regional player with its allies — Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. Given this strategy, the United States seeks an informal alliance of interests between itself, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The potential Arab partners to such an alignment of forces have made it clear to Washington that this cannot happen without progress on the Palestinian issue. This is well-understood by Mike Pompeo, who, if confirmed, will replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.

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