Archive for January 29, 2020

Kushner slams Palestinian leadership, urges giving up ‘fairy tales’ for peace

January 29, 2020

Source: Kushner slams Palestinian leadership, urges giving up ‘fairy tales’ for peace | The Times of Israel

Trump adviser says Palestinians have been lied to, chiefs ‘screwed up every opportunity in the past’; rejecting Trump plan shows they aren’t ready for a state

Screen capture from video of US presidential adviser Jared Kushner during an interview with the Al-Jazeera network, January 27, 2020. (Al Jazeera news)

Screen capture from video of US presidential adviser Jared Kushner during an interview with the Al-Jazeera network, January 27, 2020. (Al Jazeera news)

US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner on Tuesday launched scathing attacks against the Palestinian leadership, which he said has lied to the Palestinian public for years by promising them “fairy tales” that cannot be achieved.

In media interviews Kushner gave to the pan-Arabic Al Jazeera network and US broadcaster CNN, he answered questions about the Trump administration’s peace plan, which was released earlier in the day, and which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would agree to.

The plan does not include some key demands by Palestinians, such as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem being part of their capital, the return of Palestinian refugees to live in Israel, and the removal of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It also allows for broad Israeli annexation moves.

“It’s time to let go of past fairy tales that quite frankly will never happen,” Kushner told Al Jazeera.

“The Palestinians have been lied to for so many years and they have been promised things and there has been no counter to the promises that have been made to them,” he said. “If they have expectations that are not realistic then I feel bad for them. They’ve been lied to by their leadership and they’ve been lied to by a lot of people and they’ve been used as pawns in the Middle East.”

In the past, he said, Palestinian leaders “have gotten all these demands and there hasn’t been a counter to explain why the positions are not rational or achievable positions, and, as a result of that, they have not made peace and the people’s lives have continued to suffer and they blame their suffering on Israel as opposed to blaming the suffering on the leadership.”

“The Palestinian people are on a terrible trajectory thanks to a lot of bad decisions by their leadership,” Kushner continued. “They have to stop holding out for myths that will never come, and fairytales that will never come.”

“The Palestinian Authority would rather go and complain as opposed to come to the table and negotiate, which, quite frankly, shows that they are not ready to have a state,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an event with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 28, 2020, to announce the Trump administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Kushner said that if the Palestinians are prepared to negotiate, they will find in Israel a “very willing partner” for any suggestions that will make the lives of Palestinians better.

The Palestinian people need an opportunity “to lead a better life. They need dignity, they need jobs, they need opportunity, they need good leadership,” Kushner said. “This is the best opportunity they have ever had and I really hope they seize it.”

He claimed that, throughout the world, there are those who care about the Palestinian people and are urging their leadership to negotiate on the basis of the Trump plan.

“The entire Arab world is begging for the Palestinians to resolve this. You have security cooperation with Israel going on. Israel is a technology superpower; people want to do business with them. There’s a lot that can happen now that could be very, very positive for the region and the world,” Kushner said.

Breaking with past US administrations, the plan envisions the creation of a Palestinian state in part of the West Bank, a handful of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and some areas of southern Israel — on condition that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip disarm.

The plan also calls for allowing Israel to annex settlements, granting the Jewish state sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, as well as ongoing overall security control west of the Jordan River, and barring Palestinians from entering Israel as refugees.

Jerusalem would remain “the undivided” capital of Israel, Trump stressed as he unveiled the plan in the White House Tuesday, with Netanyahu standing next to him.

Screen capture from video of US presidential adviser Jared Kushner, during an interview with the CNN network, January 27, 2020. (Twitter)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas firmly rejected the plan in a speech to senior Palestinian leaders, including representatives of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups.

“We say a thousand times: No, no and no to the ‘deal of the century,’” Abbas said, adding that the US plan “will not come to pass” and that “our people will send it to the dustbins of history.”

Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, Kusher kept up his attacks on the Palestinian leadership, accusing the Palestinian leadership of calling a “day of rage” in the West Bank in response to the peace plan. Though the PA did not call for a day of rage, Abbas has indicated that his forces would not stand in the way of protesters.

“What are they calling for? They are calling for a day of rage,” Kushner said. “Who do you know who runs a state that when they don’t get what they want they call for a day of rage? That’s not how people who are capable of running a state work.

“If they screw up this opportunity — and again, they’ve had a perfect track record of screwing up opportunities — I think they will have a very hard time looking the international community in the face saying they’re victims, saying they have rights. This is a great deal for them if they come to the table and negotiate,” he said.

CNN

Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the President, says the White House’s Middle East plan is “a great deal” and if Palestinians reject it, “they’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”

Embedded video

“The Palestinian leadership have to ask themselves a question,” Kushner said.” Do they want to have a state? Do they want to have a better life? If they do, then we have created a framework for them to have it and we will treat them in a very respectable manner. If they don’t, then they are going to screw up another opportunity just like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity in their existence.”

“You have five million Palestinians who are really trapped because of bad leadership,” he added.

The plan, he said, “unquestionably” makes the lives of Palestinians better and makes Israel “much more secure.”

With Israel having agreed to the plan, “you are going to see them becoming less and less isolated internationally and you’re going to see more and more pressure put on Palestinian leadership to do it.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report

 

Trump unveils plan for ‘realistic 2-state’ deal, ‘undivided’ Israeli Jerusalem 

January 29, 2020

Source: Trump unveils plan for ‘realistic 2-state’ deal, ‘undivided’ Israeli Jerusalem | The Times of Israel

Proposal sets conditions for Palestinian state that won’t threaten Israel, with capital ‘in eastern Jerusalem,’ president says; Netanyahu, Gantz okayed plan as basis for talks

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled his long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, saying it will enshrine Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital and enable Israeli sovereignty in parts of the West Bank, while also providing for an eventual Palestinian state with “eastern Jerusalem” as its capital.

He hailed the plan as marking “a big step towards peace” for Israel, and said “we have an obligation to humanity” to get the deal done.

Speaking at the White House alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the US president said support for the plan by both Netanyahu and his election rival, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, showed “peace transcends politics in Israel.”

“This vision for peace is fundamentally different from past diplomacies,” Trump said. “Even the most well-intentioned plans were light on factual details and heavy on conceptual framework.” He added that his plan was 80-pages long, calling it “the most detailed proposal ever.”

“Today, Israel is taking a big step toward peace… Netanyahu informed me that he is willing to endorse the vision as a basis for direct negotiations.”

The US president said that the “peace vision” that Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working on for nearly three years calls for a two-state solution, includes detailed maps of territory.

He said the future Palestinian state will be contiguous, but would not be able to threaten Israel’s security interests.

US President Donald Trump (R), joined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 28, 2020, to announce the Trump administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump said his plan includes “a realistic two-state solution,” and that his administration would “work to create a territory for a contiguous Palestinian state in the future” that would “reject terrorism.”

He hailed Netanyahu as “willing to endorse the vision as the base for direct negotiations.” Calling it “a historic breakthrough,” he added: “Mr. Netanyahu, thank you for being willing to take this bold step forward.”

Trump said the plan more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control, but also that the United States would “recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory that my vision provides to be part of the State of Israel” — a reference to West Bank settlements.

The Palestinians have already rejected the proposal, accusing Trump of being biased in favor of Israel as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at their expense.

Trump thanked representatives of the Arab states of Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates for being in attendance, which could possibly mean those countries support the plan. Oman’s Ambassador Hunaina al Mughairy, asked by The Times of Israel whether her presence meant the sultanate accepts the peace plan, replied: “We haven’t seen the plan yet.”

Under the plan, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s “undivided capital,” Trump said, raising eyebrows after he had said that the capital of the Palestinian state would be in “eastern Jerusalem,” where the United States would “proudly open an embassy.”

He said the status quo in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound will be preserved in coordination with Jordan, which will maintain its special role in managing the Al-Aqsa Mosque (which Trump mispronounced as “al-aqua”).

He said the Palestinian state would be formed in a way that “resolves the risk to Israel’s security” and the risk of terror attacks, saying: “We will never ask Israel to compromise its security.”

“No Israelis or Palestinians will be uprooted from their homes,” he added, saying West Bank settlements wouldn’t be expanded for four years, during which negotiations will be advanced.

Trump said he was “saddened by the fate of the Palestinian people. They deserve a far better life — they deserve a chance to achieve their extraordinary potential.”

“We are asking the Palestinians to meet the challenges of peaceful coexistence,” Trump said, calling on them to pass laws enshrining human rights, “stop the malign activities” of the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups, “end incitement” against Israel and “halt financial compensation to terrorists.”

Trump said the plan would “end the cycle of Palestinian dependence on charity.”

He said making peace between Israel and the Palestinians “may be the most difficult challenge of all,” noting that many former US presidents had failed to achieve that. “But I was not elected to do small things or shy away from problems,” he added.

“We will be there every step of the way. It will work. If they do it, it’ll work.”

The plan builds on a 30-page economic plan for the West Bank and Gaza that was unveiled last June and which the Palestinians have also rejected.

 

Iran, Turkey slam Trump peace plan as UAE, Saudi Arabia urge negotiations 

January 29, 2020

Source: Iran, Turkey slam Trump peace plan as UAE, Saudi Arabia urge negotiations | The Times of Israel

UN, Jordan, Egypt and Western countries reiterate support for two states based on pre-1967 borders; Ankara calls outline ‘stillborn,’ Tehran says it’s ‘a nightmare’

Jordanians take part in a demonstration near the US embassy in Amman, January 28, 2020, to protest against the US peace plan. (Khalil MAZRAAWI/AFP)

Jordanians take part in a demonstration near the US embassy in Amman, January 28, 2020, to protest against the US peace plan. (Khalil MAZRAAWI/AFP)

International reactions came quickly following US President Donald Trump’s unveiling of his administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan at the White House on Tuesday.

Many Western countries and international bodies said they needed time to assess the plan, reiterating their support for the longtime international consensus favoring a two-state solution to the conflict on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.

Jordan gave the plan a cool reaction, saying it remained committed to a two-state solution based on Israel’s pre-1967 lines. It also said it rejected any unilateral move by Israel, referring to the annexation plan.

Egypt, the first Arab country to reach a peace deal with Israel, urged Israelis and Palestinians to carefully study the plan, and Saudi Arabia expressed support for a return to negotiations. The European Union said it needed to study the outline more closely.

But the United Arab Emirates issued a strikingly positive reaction, with its ambassador to the United States saying on Twitter that his country “appreciates continued US efforts to reach a Palestine-Israel peace agreement.”

“This plan is a serious initiative that addresses many issues raised over the years. The only way to guarantee a lasting solution is to reach an agreement between all concerned parties. The UAE believes that Palestinians and Israelis can achieve lasting peace and genuine coexistence with the support of the international community. The plan announced today offers an important starting point for a return to negotiations within a US-led international framework,” he said.

Along with fellow Gulf Arab states Bahrain and Oman, the United Arab Emirates sent its ambassador to Trump’s announcement alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the country’s not recognizing the Jewish state.

Saudi Arabia expressed its longtime support for the “brotherly Palestinian people,” and said it backed “all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive resolution to the Palestinian cause.”

“The Kingdom appreciate the efforts of President Trump’s Administration to develop a comprehensive peace plan between the Palestinian and Israeli sides; and encourages the start of direct peace negotiation between the Palestinian and israeli sides, under the auspices of the United States,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦

@KSAmofaEN

“The State of Qatar welcomes all efforts aiming towards a longstanding and just peace in the occupied Palestinian territories. It also appreciates the endeavors of President Trump and the current US administration to find solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” Qatar’s foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the country’s QNA news agency.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the United Nations remained committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis in resolving their conflict on the basis of UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements.

He said the UN was also committed to realizing the vision of two states “living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders,” according to his spokesman.

“The position of the United Nations on the two-State solution has been defined, throughout the years, by relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions by which the Secretariat is bound,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Those resolutions call all Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal and call for a solution based on the borders before the 1967 Six Day War, with agreed land swaps.

The European Union’s top diplomat said that the bloc remains “firm and united” behind the quest for a negotiated two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The European Union will study and assess the proposals put forward,” EU representative Josep Borrell said. But he added: “This will be done on the basis of the EU’s established position and its firm and united commitment to a negotiated and viable two-state solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis, respecting all relevant UN resolutions and internationally agreed parameters.”

Borrell acknowledged that “today’s initiative by the United States provides an occasion to re-launch the urgently needed efforts towards a negotiated and viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

But he made it clear that European capitals see the need for more inclusive negotiation ahead.

“The EU reaffirms its readiness to work towards the resumption of meaningful negotiations to resolve all permanent status issues and to achieve a just and lasting peace,” he said. “It urges both sides to demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution as the only realistic way to end the conflict.”

US President Donald Trump (R), joined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 28, 2020, to announce the Trump administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Borrell’s statement did not say if he had consulted some or all EU members before issuing his reaction, but most capitals have previously expressed support for a negotiated solution.

Iran said the plan amounted to the “treason of the century” and was bound to fail.

“The shameful peace plan imposed by America on the Palestinians is the treason of the century and doomed to fail,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that the “so-called ‘Vision for Peace’ is simply the dream project of a bankruptcy-ridden real estate developer,” referring to Trump.

“But it is a nightmare for the region and the world and, hopefully, a wake-up call for all the Muslims who have been barking up the wrong tree,” wrote Zarif, whose country does not recognize Israel and routinely threatens to destroy it.

Javad Zarif

@JZarif

But it is a nightmare for the region and the world

And, hopefully, a wake-up call for all the Muslims who have been barking up the wrong tree.

View image on Twitter

Turkey slammed the proposal as “stillborn,” calling it an “annexation plan” intended to destroy hopes for a two-state solution.

“The United States’ so-called peace plan is stillborn,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “This is an annexation plan aimed at killing a two-state solution and extorting the Palestinian territory. Palestinian people and its land cannot be bought for money.”

Turkey repeated its longtime mantra that Jerusalem was Ankara’s “red line.”

“We will not allow any step that will legitimize Israel’s occupation and persecution. We will always stand by brotherly Palestinian people. We will work for an independent Palestine in the Palestinian territory,” the ministry said. “We will not support any plan that is not accepted by Palestine. There will be no peace in the Middle East without an end to the occupation policies.”

Russia called on Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate directly to find a “mutually acceptable compromise.”

“We do not know if the American proposal is mutually acceptable or not. We must wait for the reaction of the parties,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Russian news agencies. “The important thing is that Palestinians and Arabs express their opinion,” he said, adding that Moscow would study the US plan.

Palestinian leaders had already resoundingly rejected Trump’s plan when he presented it alongside Netanyahu at a White House press conference. No Palestinian official was present at the launch.

Palestinians take part in a demonstration in the West Bank city of Nablus on January 28, 2020, to protest against US President Donald Trump’s peace plan proposal. (Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Netanyahu is expected to visit Moscow on Wednesday to present the plan to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia has repeatedly said it is prepared to host direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian camps.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the plan was “clearly a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort.”

“A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that leads to peaceful coexistence could unlock the potential of the entire region, and provide both sides with the opportunity for a brighter future,” Raab said in a statement. “Only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent. We encourage them to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations.”

Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Trump to discuss the plans. Downing Street said they “could prove a positive step forwards.”

UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the proposal “is not a peace plan. It is a plan to lock in illegal Israeli colonisation and deny Palestinian rights. It is a threat to peace.”

Germany’s foreign minister reacted cautiously, saying the plan raises questions that need to be addressed.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement that “only a negotiated two-state solution that is acceptable to both parties can lead to lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” He added that “on that basis, every impetus laid out in such a way as to set the long-stalled Middle East peace process in motion again is to be welcomed.”

Maas said the US proposal “raises questions” that Germany will discuss with its European partners. Those, he said, include the involvement of the two sides in a negotiating process and “its relationship to recognized international parameters and legal positions.”

Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz wrote on Twitter: “I welcome the release of the #US plan which hopefully brings new momentum to the [Middle East Peace Process] having been in a deadlock for far too long. We call on the parties to start negotiations on the basis of this plan under #US leadership with a view to achieving a two-state-solution.

 

Abbas on US plan: ‘We say 1,000 times: No, no and no to the deal of the century’

January 29, 2020

Source: Abbas on US plan: ‘We say 1,000 times: No, no and no to the deal of the century’ | The Times of Israel

PA leader rejects Trump peace outline in speech to Palestinian leaders, saying ‘Jerusalem is not for sale’; reaffirms commitment to opposing terrorism

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaking to Palestinian officials in Ramallah on January 28, 2020. (Credit: Wafa)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas firmly rejected the Trump administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday, calling it the “the slap of the century.”

Abbas addressed the plan in a speech to senior Palestinian leaders, including representatives of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

“We say a thousand times: No, no and no to the ‘deal of the century,’” Abbas said, adding that the US plan “will not come to pass” and that “our people will send it to the dustbins of history.”

“We just heard President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu talking about the slap of the century. If God wills, we will strike them back with slaps,” he said.

Abbas spoke about an hour and a half after US President Donald Trump released the plan alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

Breaking with past US administrations, the plan envisions the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, a handful of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and some areas of southern Israel on condition that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip disarm.

The plan also calls for allowing Israel to annex settlements, granting the Jewish state sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and ongoing overall security control west of the Jordan River, and barring Palestinians entering Israel as refugees.

Abbas also declared that “Jerusalem is not for sale” and the Palestinian people’s “rights are not for sale or bartering.”

“Will we accept a state without Jerusalem? It is impossible for any Palestinian, Arab, Muslim or Christian child to accept that,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an event with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, to announce the Trump administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Palestinians have long demanded the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state along 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Trump plan outlines a Palestinian capital in neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the West Bank situated on the side of the security barrier currently under full or partial Palestinian control.

Abbas added that the Palestinians “are committed to fighting terrorism, but the world must understand that this people deserves a life.”

“We say to the world: We are not a terrorist people and we will never be one,” he said.

Abbas said Tuesday that the Palestinians would immediately begin taking measures to change “the [Palestinian] Authority’s functional role” in order to implement recommendations made by PLO institutions over the past couple of years.

The Palestinian Central Council and the Palestinian National Council, top PLO bodies, issued a number of recommendations in 2018 and 2019 including calls for ending security cooperation with Israel.

Abbas did not clarify what explicit measures the Palestinians would take, or whether they would do away with agreements with Israel or put an end to security coordination between Israeli and Palestinian security forces.

The Palestinians have frequently threatened to renege on agreements with Israel in response to previous disagreements, but have yet to follow through.

Since late 2017, the Trump administration has made several moves seen as marginalizing the Palestinians: recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians and the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, and closing the Palestine Liberation Organization representative office in Washington.

In response, the Palestinians have cut off ties with both the White House and the US State Department, but they have continued to communicate with American security officials.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad quickly rejected the plan on Tuesday, saying “all options” were open to respond to it. Many Palestinians protested in the West Bank, as the US embassy issued a travel advisory warning of potential terror attacks.

Ahead of Trump’s speech, Abbas held a rare phone call with Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh in which they agreed to work together against the plan. Abbas’s Fatah faction has been at loggerheads with Hamas for over a decade.

Widespread protests, including violent riots, were reported by Palestinian media in Ramallah, Nablus and throughout the Gaza Strip following the plan’s unveiling.

 

Cheering Trump plan, Netanyahu says he will start annexation process Sunday 

January 29, 2020

Source: Cheering Trump plan, Netanyahu says he will start annexation process Sunday | The Times of Israel

Briefing reporters after White House released peace proposal, PM hails ‘a revolutionary change from previous peace proposals’

President Donald Trump, right, looks over to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 (AP/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will bring his plan to annex the Jordan Valley and all settlements in the West Bank to a vote during next week’s cabinet meeting, he told reporters Tuesday, as he feted the White House’s newly released peace proposal.

“This plan is a historical breakthrough with many achievements that we never thought possible, including the immediate American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea [area], which means that Israel will once and for all establish its eastern border,” he claimed.

Speaking to Israeli journalists in the Blair House, the White House’s official guest residence, Netanyahu said he would start working on pushing annexation at a cabinet meeting Sunday.

But under indictment and running the government in a caretaker capacity, it remained unclear whether he can legally push through as significant a measure as redrawing Israel’s borders. His main rival Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party said it would only support implementing the contours of the plan after the March 2 election.

Netanyahu said the blueprint provides for the immediate American recognition of Israel’s right to sovereignty in the entire Jordan Valley and all settlements. “All settlements — it’s all inclusive,” he stressed. He said illegal outposts would also be annexed.

“Tel Aviv will be treated like Itamar,” he said, referring to a settlement south of Nablus, deep inside the West Bank.

The entrance to the Itamar settlement, outside Nablus, in the northern West Bank on May 19, 2017. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

“No one is going to be uprooted from his home,” he said.

Furthermore, all previous restrictions on settlement expansions will be lifted, Netanyahu said. “Until now, we coordinated the building with the US. We will no longer have to do that, because all the settlements will be under our sovereignty.”

“Someone joked that now there will be a real [building] freeze because the area will now be part of the State of Israel,” the prime minister said, referring to the notorious bureaucracy Israeli homeowners face.

He said the US had agreed to Israel’s immediate annexation of “additional areas” of the West Bank, that are adjacent to the settlements. However, he said that Israel will apply sovereignty there not immediately, but during a second phase at a yet-undetermined time.

“We need to do some work to define exactly [what we will annex],” he said.

A picture taken on November 19, 2019 shows a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Elazar, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

“Over the years, the international community said it would apply crippling sanctions on Israel in the [UN] Security Council if Israel annexed even a tiny part of the territory,” the prime minister said. The green light he received now from US President Donald Trump provides “protection” from such sanctions, he added, referring to the fact that the US can veto any resolution at the Security Council.

“Everyone says they want to annex. You can talk a lot, you can make many declarations, but you can only really do it if you take care of the international arena,” he said in an apparent swipe at his political rivals on the far-right who have long called for the government to apply sovereignty over the West Bank.

The military regime that was in place in the West Bank since Israel captured the area in the 1967 Six Day War will be “annulled,” Netanyahu said.

While the plan calls for a two-state solution, an Israeli official described the resulting Palestinian state as “restricted and limited.”

Israel will retain security control over the entire West Bank, Netanyahu said, even in the case that the Palestinians agree to all the terms of the deal and a Palestinian state is established on what amounts to about 70% of the West Bank, plus parts in what is now Israel.

Illustrative: Israeli soldiers stand by as masked Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian protesters (unseen) during a demonstration against construction on an Israeli outpost near the Palestinian village of Turmusaya and the settlement of Shilo, north of Ramallah in the West Bank, on October 17, 2019. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Though the plan calls for cutting off some parts of East Jerusalem beyond the security barrier and making them the Palestinian capital, Netanyahu celebrated the fact that “the Trump plan buries the idea of dividing Jerusalem,” he said.

Vision for Peace Conceptual Map published by the Trump Administration on January 28, 2020

“The Trump plan buries the notion of a return to the 1967 lines. It buries the idea of a Palestinian right of return — not even one refugee will enter Israel,” he stressed.

Netanyahu said that under Trump’s plan the Palestinians will have to disarm Hamas, demilitarize Gaza, recognize Israel as the Jewish state and accept Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and 30% of the West Bank before they are granted statehood.

They also have to stop paying salaries to terrorists and their families, cease “incitement against Israel,” withdraw all complaints against Israel at the International Criminal Court and must not join any international organizations without Israel’s agreement, Netanyahu said.

“This is a revolutionary change from previous peace proposals,” he said. “Instead of pressuring Israel into making concessions, the US is now making demands of the Palestinians.”

 

Trump peace plan recognizes Israel’s right to sovereignty over West Bank settlements, and a Palestinian state with E. Jerusalem capital – DEBKAfile

January 29, 2020

Source: Trump peace plan recognizes Israel’s right to sovereignty over West Bank settlements, and a Palestinian state with E. Jerusalem capital – DEBKAfile

Israel may as of next week annex the Jordan Valley and all 150 Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, i.e. 30pc of the West Bank, while the Palestinians would have four years to win an independent state and a capital in East Jerusalem.

That is the substance of President Donald Trump’s vision for an Israel-Palestinian peace as he presented it at the White House on Tuesday, Jan. 28, alongside PM Binyamin Netanyahu, in a striking historic event – even for the critics of its content.

The prime minister stated “I agree to negotiate with the Palestinians on the basis of your plan,” because, he said, unlike all previous peace initiatives, this one strikes a “realistic balance” between Israel’s security needs with recognition of Biblical sites as the bedrock of our Jewish heritage, while also understanding and addressing Palestinian aspirations. All previous plans required Israel’s withdrawal from the Jordan Valley, its vital eastern frontier.

Both Trump and Netanyahu welcomed the UAE, Omani and Bahraini ambassadors, who accepted Trump’s information to attend the event, making it hard for Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to go through with his all-out campaign to derail it with the help of full Arab support. He will also seek Arab League backing for his rejection. The Saudi and Jordanian envoys were absent.
The Trump plan also states:

  • The US and Israel will set up a joint committee to develop the plan in detail.
  • The Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside Israel
  • A $50bn fund is approved for developing the Palestinian state over 10 years promising a million new jobs and an end to dependence on charity.
  • Israel will retain military control of the land west of the Jordan River.
  • No Palestinians or Israelis will be evacuated from their present homes.
  • The status quo remains on Temple Mount under Israeli sovereignty with freedom of worship for all faiths.
  • For Palestinian statehood to be attained in four years on 70pc of the territory, Hamas and Islamic Jihad must be disarmed, peace negotiations begin with Israel, which is recognized as a Jewish state, and terror and violence renounced. The new state will be demilitarized.
  • The US will open an embassy in the capital of the contiguous Palestinian state.

Trump in his presentation speech stressed there would be no compromise on Israel security and his plan for two states offered no risk to Israel. Addressing the Palestinians, he said this was their last chance for an independent state and a bright future for their youth. Turning to the Arab world, the president said it was their chance to correct the mistake they made in 1948 and start a new chapter with the state of Israel.

 

FULL RALLY: President Trump in Wildwood, New Jersey 

January 29, 2020