In February, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his Middle East plan that had been in negotiations for a long time. This was, however, done without the input and approval of the Palestinians, who in 2018 ended their relationship with the Trump Administration after the recognition of Jerusalem as the “undivided capital” of Israel.
Supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, recently stated that the U.S. Middle East plan will “die before Trump,” meaning that the controversial plan of the Trump Administration will not be successful in what it set out to do. Khamenei also disagreed with other Arab leaders showing support to the plan for Israel and Palestine; he said that “[t]he welcoming and clapping from a few traitorous Arab leaders who are worthless and dishonourable among their own people has no importance.” In a speech that was aired on television, he stated that “this plan will certainly not work and it will die before Trump. The Americans negotiated with the Zionists on something that doesn’t belong to them.”
The plan is 181 pages in length and essentially proposes that the West Bank is treated as mainly Israeli territory with pockets of Palestinian land. This new plan would force the Palestinians to give up most of their claim to the West Bank.
The proposed plan included future ideas of a two-state solution in which Israel would control large areas of the currently occupied West Bank, a landlocked territory, inclusive of the illegal settlements and Jordan River. This plan allows Israel to have a permanent border along the eastern Jordan River. Israel has not had full control of this border before. In 1982 they did gain 62% of this control by military force, with the other 38% under autonomous control. The Palestinians under the plan will also have limited control of the West Bank border and the Gaza strip, which will be used for their new capital in Abu Dis, a suburb just outside of Jerusalem in current control of the Israeli’s.
At the start of Trump’s presidency, he promised that he would negotiate a “bigger and better” deal than anyone has achieved before, but three years later the plan, according to experts, falls short of the promise he previously made and, according to the New York Times, is quite unlikely to become the foundation of a future peace agreement. Trump also very briefly promised that the Palestinians could achieve an independent state – something they have wanted for a long time – but Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu says that the deal only provided a pathway to an individual state, not a promise. The plan also proposes Palestinian territories and the West Bank to receive modern transportation links, A there is currently no connection.
The plan very clearly favours Israel. However, it has been strongly shunned by not only the Palestinians but also the Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation. According to experts, the only part of the plan that seems remotely achievable is American recognition on Israeli’s claim over the Jordan Valley and the Jewish settlements that are on the West Bank.
Trump believes this is a win-win situation, however, the Palestinians see it a different way. The Palestinians have expressed great interest in wanting more. They want both East Jerusalem and the majority of the East Bank to be a part of their new border and future state. Trump’s new proposal dismissed Palestinians ideas and is in direct violation of UNSC Resolution 242 that called on Israel to withdraw its forces from territories it had occupied in the war that occurred in June 1967, as well as the return of refugees, according to Al Jazeera. Khamenei continued on to state that Iran will continue on supporting Palestinian armed groups as much as possible and wants them to confront Trump’s plan and push for more Palestinian control.
Under the plan, the Trump Administration plan to disarm the governing group of the Gaza Strip since 2007, Hamas. They are a ‘terrorist’ organization under the U.S. Hamas spokesman Abdellatif Al-Qanoun told Al Jazeera last week that the group rejected the plan saying, “Hamas will not accept it to be disarmed. It is not acceptable to talk about the disarmament of Hamas or any other Palestinian resistance faction. The Palestinian resistance arm is legitimate and our right to defend ourselves against this brutal occupation is legally guaranteed.” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech that “[w]e believe that Palestinian armed organisations will stand and continue resistance and the Islamic Republic sees supporting Palestinian groups as its duty, so it will support them however it can and as much as it can and this support is the desire of the Islamic system and the Iranian nation.”
Since the release of the plan, Israel has deployed more troops near the border that separates Gaza and Israel, and the West Bank. One of the main questions that arise is: Is the plan based on peace or politics? William F. Wechsler, director of the Rafik Hariri Center and Middle East Programs at the Atlantic Council, said: “The announcement’s chosen timing, specific staging, limited participants, and indeed its substance make clear that it has less to do with a good-faith effort to reach peace between Israelis and Palestinians and more to do with the immediate legal and electoral challenges that confront both leaders.” David Friedman, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, said that the reveal date of the plan was not based on political reasons. He added that the plan was fully decided last year before the Israeli elections but they held off introducing it. But experts say that the timing of the reveal has more to do more with his political reasons in the U.S. than resolving the conflict in Israel.
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