Dubai: A blueprint the White House is rolling out to resolve the decades-long conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is as much about politics as it is about peace.
President Donald Trump said he would likely release his long-awaited Mideast peace plan a little before he meets Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival Benny Gantz.
The Washington get-together offers political bonuses for Trump and the prime minister, but Trump's opponents are doubting the viability of any plan since there's been little-to-no input from the Palestinians, who have rejected it before its release.
"It's entirely about politics,'' Michael Koplow, policy director of the Israel Policy Forum, said about Tuesday's meeting.
"You simply can't have a serious discussion about an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and only invite one side to come talk about it. This is more about the politics inside Israel and inside the U.S. than it is about any real efforts to get these two sides to an agreement."
Jared Kushner, a Trump adviser and the president's son-in-law, has been the architect for the plan for nearly three years. He's tried to persuade academics, lawmakers, former Mideast negotiators, Arab governments and special interest groups not to reject his fresh approach outright.
What could the deal possibly entail?
In May 2019, an Israeli publication, Yisrael Hayom, published a leaked document of “main points” from the Trump administration’s so-called ‘deal of the century’.
The document outlines plans for a two-state solution, with a completely demilitarised state of ‘New Palestine’, and the Israeli regime’s annexation of all colonies in the West Bank, and shared capitals in occupied Jerusalem.
Yisrael Hayom said the document was passed between Israeli foreign ministry officials, but said it was unclear what its source was and how reliable it was.
Gulf News is unable to independently verify the authenticity of the document.
It says that if Israel does not agree to the plan, the US will cut aid to Israel.
If Hamas or the PLO reject the plan, the US will cancel all financial support to the Palestinians and will ensure that no country in the world can transfer money to them.
If Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agrees to the terms, and leaders of Hamas or Islamic Jihad don’t, then the US will back Israel in “personally harming” leaders of the two groups in the next war on them.
“It is inconceivable that a group of a few dozen will determine the lives of millions of people,” the document threatens.
The so-called supporting countries will provide a budget of $30 billion over a period of five years for national projects for ‘New Palestine’, with Gulf states making providing 70 per cent of the total budget. The US will pay 20 per cent and the EU 10 per cent.
Creation of ‘New Palestine’
The ‘New Palestine’ will be established in West Bank and Gaza, but without the land on which the Israeli regime has built numerous Jewish colonies.
These colonies as they exist today will remain under the control of Israel, and the new ones will be added to them. The Jordan Valley will also become part of Israel.
‘New Palestine’ will get control of two crossings with Jordan. It will be entitled to a ‘lightly armed’ police force, and will not be allowed to maintain an army. Israel will provide ‘security’ to ‘New Palestine’ from ‘external aggression’, and the Palestinians will have to pay Israel for this ‘protection’.
Status of occupied Jerusalem
Occupied Jerusalem will not be divided, and will serve as the capital of both Israel and ‘New Palestine’. Its current Arab inhabitants will become citizens of ‘New Palestine’.
The Jerusalem Municipality will be responsible for the city except for education (for Palestinians, presumably), which will be handled by the Palestinian government, which will also pay municipal taxes.
Jews will not be allowed to buy Palestinian homes, and vice versa. The status of the city’s holy sites will remain as is.
According to the document, Egypt will ‘lease’ land to ‘New Palestine’ for building an airport and for setting up factories.
After the agreement is signed, the document notes, Hamas will be required to hand over all its weapons to Egypt. Hamas members, including leaders, will continue to receive salaries from the supporting countries until the establishment of the new government.
All borders of Gaza will be open for movement of workers to Egypt and Israel. Elections are to be held within a year, and every Palestine citizen can stand for office.
A year after the establishment of a government, prisoners will be released gradually over a period of three years. A highway will be built, 30 metres above ground level, between Gaza and the West Bank, with most of the financing coming from China.