Trump’s peace plan: A flawed offer

Trump’s peace plan: A flawed offer

US President Donald Trump’s so-called ‘peace plan’ for West Asia is unlikely to bring peace to the region. This is a deal that was sealed between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu without the participation of the Palestinians. Not only was this plan born of a process that was neither consultative nor inclusive but also, its contents are unfair and tilted heavily in favour of Israel. Understandably, the Palestinians have rejected the plan outright. Angry protests have erupted. According to Trump, the proposed plan provides a ‘realistic two-state solution’ and is therefore a win-win opportunity for the region. On the face of it, the plan paves the way for two states: an Israeli and a Palestinian one. The White House has said Palestine stand to gain from the plan; the proposed Palestinian state will sit on territory larger than what Palestinians currently control. Moreover, they are being compensated for loss of about 30% of the West Bank to Israel with land near Gaza.

While the Trump plan does indeed offer Palestinians a path to statehood, the proposed Palestinian state is a truncated version of the United Nations’ two-state plan which is based on the borders in place before the 1967 war, when Israel occupied West Bank and Gaza. It does not meet the aspirations of even the most moderate sections among Palestinians as the proposed Palestinian state will be left with control over just 15% of what they call "historic Palestine." Trump’s plan recognises Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements and over the Jordan Valley which it already controls. While undivided Jerusalem will be Israel’s capital, the Palestinians might have a capital in the East Jerusalem suburbs. Importantly, Palestinian refugees will not have the right to return to Israel. Trump’s plan has an economic component, too, under which proposed investment of $50 billion in Palestine is expected to create a million new jobs. While this is welcome, it will not contribute to Palestinian acceptance of a flawed solution. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not economic but a political one. The political issues need to be addressed fairly and fully for resolution of the conflict.

Both Trump and Netanyahu are mired in problems at home. The plan will not only help distract public attention away from Trump’s impeachment trial and Netanyahu’s corruption indictment but also, it will provide a boost to their electoral chances in upcoming elections. It does seem that the focus of the peace plan was not to meet Palestinian aspirations for statehood or bring peace to West Asia but to help the two leaders win elections.

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