Archive for January 28, 2020

Deal of Century establishes Palestinian state, Jewish control of Jerusalem

January 28, 2020

Source: Deal of Century establishes Palestinian state, Jewish control of Jerusale – The Jerusalem Post

“I have to do a lot for the Palestinians or it just wouldn’t be fair.”

DONALD TRUMP. His administration adopted measures that promoted the principles of the plan (photo credit: REUTERS)
DONALD TRUMP. His administration adopted measures that promoted the principles of the plan
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump unveiled his “Deal of the Century” together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House on Tuesday.
“We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.  Instead, we are here to offer partnership – based on shared interests and values – to pursue a better future for us all,” the president said.
The peace plan, which Trump said was already supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival Blue and White head Benny Gantz, would give Israel full control of the settlements and its undivided capital in Jerusalem.

“If they are genuinely prepared to make peace with the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said, “Israel will be there. Israel will be prepared to negotiate peace right away.”

Trump said that the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over any land that “my vision provides to to be part of the State of Israel” and will require the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish state and to agree to solve the refugee problem outside of Israel.
The plan also establishes a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem.
As part of the plan, Trump will reveal a map delineating Israeli and Palestinian state borders. He said the map will make clear the “territorial sacrifices that Israel is willing to make for peace.”
Trump said the plan will “more than double Palestinian territory… No Palestinians will be uprooted from their homes.”Moreover, he said that although Israel will maintain control of Jerusalem, the status quo will remain on the Temple Mount and Israel will work with Jordan to ensure that all Muslims who want to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque will be able to do so.
The president said that if the Palestinians choose to accept the plan, some $50 billion will be infused into this new Palestinian state.
“There are many countries that want to partake in this,” he said. “The Palestinian poverty rate will be cut in half and their GDP will double and triple.” He then called for “peace and prosperity for the Palestinian people.”
He added, “I have to do a lot for the Palestinians or it just wouldn’t be fair.”
But Trump noted that the transition to the two-state solution will present “no incremental security risk to the State of Israel whatsoever.
“Peace requires compromise, but we will never require Israel to compromise on it security,” he continued.

Netanyahu in his speech said that he has agreed to negotiate peace with the Palestinians on the basis of Trump’s peace plan. The prime minister noted several key reasons, but namely that rather than “play lip service to Israel’s security,” the president “recognizes that Israel must have sovereignty in places that enable Israel to defend itself by itself.

“For too long, the heart of Israel has been outrageously branded as illegally occupied territory,” Netanyahu continued. “Today, Mr. President, you are puncturing this big lie. You are recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – large and small alike.”
However, Israel agreed that it will maintain the status quo in all areas that the peace plan does not designate as Jewish for four years to allow for an opportunity for negotiation. At the same time, as per the plan, Israel will immediately apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and other areas that the plan does recognize as Israeli.

 

Trump, Israeli PM Netanyahu unveil Middle East peace plan

January 28, 2020

 

 

With PM at his side, Trump says without Palestinians ‘we don’t do the deal’

January 28, 2020

Source: With PM at his side, Trump says without Palestinians ‘we don’t do the deal’ | The Times of Israel

US president says Mideast peace proposal to debut Tuesday at noon, assesses that ‘it might have a chance’; PM calls offer ‘historic’ and ‘opportunity of the century’

US President Trump hosts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House,  January 27, 2020. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

US President Trump hosts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, January 27, 2020. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

WASHINGTON — The US administration will publish its long-anticipated Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump confirmed on Monday, standing next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

“Peace in the Middle East has been long sought, for many, many years and decades and centuries. This is an opportunity. We’ll see what happens. Whatever it is, it is,” he said in the White House Rose Garden.

“Tomorrow at 12 o’clock, we’re going to show a plan, it’s been worked on by everybody. And we’ll see whether or not it catches hold. If it does, that would be great. And if it doesn’t, we’re going to have to live with that too. But I think that it might have a chance.”

Sitting with Netanyahu in the Oval Office afterwards, Trump predicted that the Palestinians will “ultimately” come round to giving their support. “They probably won’t want it initially. I think in the end they will,” he said. “I think in the end they’re going to want it. It’s very good for them. In fact, it’s overly good to them. So we’ll see what happens. Now without them, we don’t do the deal. And that’s okay.”

If no peace deal can be achieved, he said, “life goes on.”

The so-called Deal of the Century is said to be the most pro-Israel peace proposal ever published by an American administration, and is reported to include an endorsement of Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem and significant parts of the West Bank. Reliable information about the plan’s details remain elusive, however, with sources in Jerusalem saying the plan has not been finalized.

According to various reports, Netanyahu hopes to get a green light from the president for an Israeli annexation of either the Jordan Valley or the Jerusalem suburb Ma’ale Adumim. Channel 12 said on Monday that the administration’s peace plan would let Israel retain two holy sites deep inside in the West Bank — the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron in the southern West Bank and Joseph’s Tomb on the outskirts of Nablus in the northern West Bank.

Trump mentioned the Palestinians’ low living standards and that his administration cut all aid to the Palestinian Authority. “We think that there’s a very good chance that they’re going to want this,” he said about the forthcoming peace deal, which comes with very large financial incentives. He said he believed the current rejection of the proposal was an “initial” response, as the Palestinians were “great negotiators.”

The US president declined to answer specific questions about the parameters of the proposal. But he claimed that “many of the Arab nations have agreed to it. They like it, they think it’s great. They think it’s a big start.”

Netanyahu thanked the president for his ongoing support for Israel, reiterating his hope to “make history” with him.

“I look forward to making history with you tomorrow. And I think we’ll talk about the plan,” he said, adding that the president’s vision for an Israeli-Palestinian peace is “historic.” He said “the deal of the century is the opportunity of the century. And we’re not going to pass it by.”

Netanyahu thanked Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and for “recognizing our rights in Judea and Samaria, the heartland of our biblical homeland,” as well as Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and an unprecedented bilateral security and intelligence cooperation.

“The list of your support for Israel — the things you’ve done for Israel since you you’ve become president — is very long. But the bottom line is short: You have made our alliance stronger than ever. And I look forward in the coming years to make it even stronger with a historic defense treaty that will anchor our alliance for generations,” he said.

Noting that Monday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the prime minister also expressed gratitude to the administration for “confronting the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet,” he added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US President Donald Trump in Washington on January 27, 2020. (screenshot: Channel 12)

“When you came into office, Iran was on the march. Because of our leadership, Iran is now on the run. You’ve withdrawn from the dangerous nuclear deal. You slapped on tremendous sanctions,” the prime minister went on.

Netanyahu noted that the US has “taken out the most dangerous terrorist on the planet,” a reference to Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

After the meeting a member of Netanyahu’s official entourage to Washington said it was “excellent.” He said the two leaders “spoke about the peace deal that will be presented tomorrow, though most of the meeting centered on Iran.”

He said Trump and Netanyahu discussed the “need to stop Iranian aggression as well as about Iran’s efforts to go nuclear and about the need to continue the pressure on all fronts.” They also talked about “regional opportunities” that arose in the aftermath of the US assassination of senior Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.

Furthermore, the prime minister spoke to the president about the “need to fight against the International Criminal Court’s attempt to prosecute Israel,” the official said.

Right after Netanyahu’s meeting, his chief political rival, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, was set to meet Trump in the Oval Office. As opposed to the prime minister, who had both a “restricted” and an “expanded bilateral meeting” at the beginning of which the two men made comments to reporters, the de facto opposition leader was granted a shorter “bilateral” meeting closed to the press.

“As you know, they’re two good competitors. They’re fighting it out,” Trump said of Gantz. “This is the third election. We keep waiting and waiting and waiting,” he said, referring to the ongoing political stalemate in Israel. “What kind of system is that? Very strange system you have there. We have been talking about this for many month. So this system has to be looked at.”

Announcing his trip to meet Trump on Saturday night, Gantz said the forthcoming peace plan “will go down in history as a meaningful landmark, mapping the way for different players in the Middle East to finally move ahead toward a historic regional agreement.”

At the same time, he was careful not to offer a full preemptive endorsement of the proposal, noting its potential to cause argument within Israel, and said he would work to turn it into the basis for an agreed deal with the Palestinians and the Arab world.

Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz speaks at the Eli Horowitz Conference for Economy and Society, held by the Israel Institute of Democracy, in Jerusalem, on December 17, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Trump again at the White House on Tuesday for what is widely expected to be unveiling of the administration’s plan. The two leaders will deliver joint remarks for 35 minutes. Later that day, Trump is headed to New Jersey for a campaign rally.

According to the Reuters news agency, citing a US official, Trump will reportedly tell Netanyahu and Gantz that they have until the Knesset elections to work on the administration’s plan, potentially throwing the high stakes diplomatic gambit into Israel’s domestic political stew.

You have six weeks to get this [plan] going, if you want it,” the unnamed official claimed Trump would say.

According to the report, the president will not announce details of the peace proposal until after he gets pledges of support from both Netanyahu and Gantz.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

 

IDF sends more troops to Jordan Valley ahead of Trump plan release

January 28, 2020

Source: IDF sends more troops to Jordan Valley ahead of Trump plan release | The Times of Israel

No other reinforcements posted to West Bank, but military says it is conducting constant assessments amid fears of violence in response to so-called Deal of the Century

Israeli soldiers of the Golani Brigade training in the Golan Heights, near the Israel-Syria border, January 19, 2015. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli soldiers of the Golani Brigade training in the Golan Heights, near the Israel-Syria border, January 19, 2015. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

The Israel Defense Forces announced it was deploying an additional infantry battalion to the Jordan Valley on Tuesday, hours before the release of US President Donald Trump’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The military said it was conducting constant situational assessments amid concerns of violence in response to the long-awaited proposal, which the Palestinian Authority has preemptively rejected. Trump’s plan is scheduled to be released to the public at 7 p.m. Israel time.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett instructed the IDF to remain on high alert ahead of the plan’s release and prepare for the possibility of violence, as well as for the threats by the PA to not restrain or disperse rioters in the West Bank.

“The minister instructed the troops to be prepared for the scenario of an immediate escalation [of violence] in light of the presentation of the plan and the agitation of the street, without the cooperation of the Palestinian Authority,” his office said.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, left, meets with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, second from left, Judea and Samaria Division commander Brig. Gen. Yaniv Alaluf, center, and other senior IDF officers in the West Bank on January 28, 2020. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

According to unconfirmed reports in Hebrew media, PA President Mahmoud Abbas instructed Palestinian security not to stop protesters from confronting Israeli forces in the West Bank as the US releases the plan.According to the Ynet news site, Abbas said: “We need to enlist all the young people. Stay out on the streets. We’re going to be on emergency footing in the coming days… Ahead of us are difficult days and we will need to bear the consequences of refusing the agreement.”

The several hundred soldiers from the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance battalion that were set to be deployed to the IDF’s Jordan Valley Division had been conducting training exercises.

Palestinian demonstrators hold pictures of US President Donald Trump and and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a protest in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near the West Bank city of Nablus, November 29, 2019. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Throughout the day, Bennett toured the West Bank and met with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, the head of the Central Command Maj. Gen. Nadav Padan, and the commander of the Judea and Samaria Division Brig. Gen. Yaniv Alaluf.

“The IDF and troops in the field are prepared for any eventuality. We have before us days that will determine the borders and the application of sovereignty,” Bennett said during his visit to the West Bank.

“Threats by the Palestinians will not deter us,” he added.

The Jordan Valley has been a source of contention in recent months, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to apply Israeli sovereignty to the region if elected in the upcoming parliamentary elections. His main rival, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, has made similar calls, but stressed the need for international agreement on the matter.

The Jordan Valley is a key strategic region running north-south along the Jordanian border that has long been seen by Israeli defense planners and political leaders as the country’s preferred eastern frontier.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Trump’s plan proposes that Israel would have sovereignty over much of the valley.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Trump at the White House on Tuesday for the unveiling of the administration’s plan — the second meeting of the two leaders in as many days. The two leaders will deliver joint remarks for 35 minutes.

“Peace in the Middle East has been long sought, for many, many years and decades and centuries. This is an opportunity. We’ll see what happens. Whatever it is, it is,” Trump said Monday in the White House Rose Garden, standing next to Netanyahu.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

“Tomorrow at 12 o’clock, we’re going to show a plan, it’s been worked on by everybody,” he added. “And we’ll see whether or not it catches hold. If it does, that would be great. And if it doesn’t, we’re going to have to live with that too. But I think that it might have a chance.”

According to the Reuters news agency, citing a US official, Trump was set to tell Netanyahu and his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, who was also in Washington, that they have until the Knesset elections to work on the administration’s plan, potentially throwing the high-stakes diplomatic gambit into Israel’s domestic political stew.

“You have six weeks to get this [plan] going, if you want it,” the unnamed official claimed Trump would say.

The plan is reportedly tilted in favor of Israel’s territorial and security demands, and the Palestinian leadership has already rejected it.

Abbas has reportedly refused to take phone calls from Trump in the lead-up to the plan’s release.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

 

Nikki Haley: Trump plan may be ‘the last chance’ for the Palestinians 

January 28, 2020

Source: Nikki Haley: Trump plan may be ‘the last chance’ for the Palestinians | The Times of Israel

( Nikki Haley for President 2024 ! – JW )

Former ambassador to the UN says the key to the success of the plan may depend on the response of Arab nations: Palestinians may find they don’t ‘have the backing they had before’

Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley attends an event of the Israeli Center on Addiction, in Tel Aviv on January 27, 2020. (Flash90)

The Trump peace plan may mark the “last chance” for the Palestinians, and the key to the Palestinians realizing this will lie with the response to the plan by Arab countries, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Monday.

Speaking in Tel Aviv on the eve of US President Donald Trump’s unveiling of the so-called Deal of the Century, Haley acknowledged that the Palestinian leadership has “said they’re not going to come to the table.” But she urged her audience to “watch what the Arab countries do, because that’s going to be telling as to whether this can actually happen or not,”

Elaborating, Haley said that “if the Arab countries respond favorably to the plan, or even if they don’t run to the Palestinian side, that’s going to be a huge, telling lesson to the Palestinians that they may not have the backing they had before… My hope is that you see the Arab community try and move this forward because they, too, realize that this [conflict] has to get to a resolution.”

Haley was speaking at the opening event for the “Israel Center on Addiction,” established in 2018, which aims to advance addiction treatment, prevention, training and policy on a blight that it says affects 500,000 Israelis.

Interviewed by ICA Public Council member Danna Azrieli, chair of the Azrieli Group, Haley made clear that she didn’t expect these unnamed Arab countries to “wholeheartedly support the plan,” but she did anticipate what she called “an openness to come together. And that’s going to signal to the Palestinians that this may be their last chance. And I think when presented with the fact that this could be their last chance, it’s an open door.

“The sad part is the Palestinian Authority has not represented the people well,” she went on. “The Palestinian people want better. It’s the Authority that has not done a good job. And when the Authority realizes that they may not have the friends they felt they did, or they may not have the backing that they thought, I think we could see a big shift.”

US President Donald Trump greets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he arrives for a meeting on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, January 27, 2020. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Haley, who stepped down as UN ambassador at the end of 2018, and who has not ruled out an eventual presidential run, did not explain what she meant by the “last chance” for the Palestinians. She said she had seen early drafts of the US plan, and that its authors’ “number one priority was always the national security of Israel. We knew that we couldn’t do anything that was going to compromise the security of Israel. But we also knew that the Palestinians deserve a better way of life.”

What is being rolled out, she said, “is a plan that is doable. And what I hope is that it is a plan where everyone will keep an open mind as we go into it, because you do deserve peace.”

“The one thing you won’t see,” she predicted, is “the United States trying to push anything on either side. At the end of the day, this has to be a decision between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And it has to be an investment by the region to see the good in this.”

US President Donald Trump and US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speak during a meeting on United Nations Reform at the United Nations headquarters on September 18, 2017, in New York. (AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

Haley also offered some personal insight into working with Trump, and into his decision-making process. “Everyone always felt heard,” she said of her time in the administration. “You can have a debate with him. You could share ideas with him. It didn’t mean he was always going to be on your side, but he’s not a rigid person.”

Still, she added, “once he makes a decision and he believes in something, he follows it through. And what he cares about more than anything else is keeping his promises. So when he made the promise to the American people to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he felt like he needed to deliver on that.”

Likewise, “when he made the promise that he was going to look at the Iran deal and see if it was a threat, once we were able to put the facts in front of him, and he saw exactly what a national security threat it was, he strongly made a movement to get out of the Iran deal. So, so much of it is by what you put in front of him. And how you convince him.”

Recalling her time at the UN, and working to change what she called “this obsession over Israel,” Haley traced its origins to 1967. “After the 1967 war, [Israel’s enemies] realized that they would never be able to defeat Israel on the battlefield. And so they went for the one option that they had, which was to go after Israel diplomatically. At the time, there were a lot of the Arab countries that had a lot of money and a lot of oil. And so the smaller countries had no choice but to listen to them. So when they said, Vote against Israel, these countries didn’t vote against Israel because of a hatred towards Israel; these countries voted against Israel because of the oil, because of the money.”

By the time she got to the UN in January 2017, those voting patterns had long since become “a habit. It was just what they did… They would bash Israel… But when you ask those countries [that backed anti-Israel votes] what they really think, they don’t hate Israel. They’ve done it because they always have.”

And when she asked the Arab countries why they were so hard on this, “they said they did it for their constituencies. They really didn’t care if the resolution was passed.

“When you asked all the other countries, they actually were inspired by Israel. They really do see a lot of good in Israel… I think we have to stay down that path. I think it’s important that we continue to tell the story of Israel, not just in the plight with the Palestinians. We should be talking about the innovation that happens in Israel, the way they educate. The fact that they’re getting involved with [tackling] addictions, the fact that they have a lot to offer the world, because I think Israel is so much more than just the Israeli-Palestinian issue. But we have to get that story out.”

Asked if she was saying that many of the countries that vote against Israel really don’t actually hate Israel, Haley replied: “They really don’t hate you as much as they think. It is a habit that we have to break.”

“It’s an addiction,” prompted Azrieli, referencing the Israel Center on Addiction event and prompting laughs from Haley and the audience.

“And what’s the thing we do with an addiction?” retorted Haley. “First, we have to make them acknowledge and confess that they have a problem. I tried to do that. We tried to convince them they had a problem.”

Ultimately, Haley also said, the anti-Israel resolutions don’t actually matter. “They don’t matter. They matter about as much as the one they did against us for moving the embassy to Jerusalem. We did it anyway.”

 

Trump invites Arab envoys to peace plan unveiling – against Abbas’rage. Netanyahu may waive immunity bid – DEBKAfile

January 28, 2020

Source: Trump invites Arab envoys to peace plan unveiling – against Abbas’rage. Netanyahu may waive immunity bid – DEBKAfile

US President Donald Trump has invited Arab envoys to the White House for the formal presentation of his peace plan on Tuesday, Jan. 28. On Monday, he briefed , Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his rival, Kahol Lavan’s Benny Gantz, on the plan in separate back-to-back meetings.

The president hopes the Arab envoys will attend the unveiling of his “Deal of the Century” as a gesture of support for his blueprint for an Israel-Palestinian peace. His advisers see them as agreeing to attend out of hesitation to affront the President Trump and also reluctance to identify with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ furious rejection of the plan.

On Monday, Abbas called on all Palestinian organizations to send their young people out on the streets to challenge IDF forces and voice their rage with the Trump plan. Israeli commanders are bracing for violent outbreaks that are limited to certain spots. The main Palestinian population is not expected to respond to Abbas’ call for a Day of Rage.

But in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas terrorist organization is planning to revive its “March of Return” riots on the border fence, after a short pause, and have given the incendiary balloon gangs in action in the past week a free hand and told them there are no more constraints.

Gantz left Washington for home Monday night after a 50-minute first acquaintance interview with the US president.  He was determined to be in Jerusalem in time for the Knesset hearing on Tuesday 11 a.m. for setting up a committee to judge Netanyahu’s application for immunity from prosecution on three corruption charges.

The majority is packed against granting the prime minister immunity.  It is led by Benny Gantz, whose campaign for election, including the current fight for the March 2 ballot, has been consistently dominated by the drive to evict Netanyahu and the argument that he is not fit to be prime minister.

Netanyahu was reported Monday night to be seriously considering withdrawing his application for immunity before it is defeated. He is using his time in Washington and warm friendship with Trump to highlight his successful career as a brilliant global diplomat whose achievements for the State of Israel are epic.