A plan that overturns Palestinian aspirations
Until now all of the most difficult aspects of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal – the so-called final status issues – like borders; the future of Israeli settlements in the West Bank; the long-term status of Jerusalem; and the fate of Palestinian refugees, were to be left for face-to-face talks between the Israelis and Palestinians themselves.
Not any longer. The deal proposed by President Trump and enthusiastically endorsed by Prime Minister Netanyahu essentially frames all of these issues in Israeli favor.
The Palestinians were not just absent from this meeting – they have boycotted the Trump administration ever since it unilaterally moved its embassy to Jerusalem. But they have essentially been presented with an ultimatum – accept the Trump parameters or else, and they have been given some four years to come around.
While President Trump is offering the Palestinians a state it would be a much truncated one. No Jewish settlers will be uprooted and Israeli sovereignty will apparently be extended to the settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley. The Palestinians might have a capital in the East Jerusalem suburbs. This “take it or leave it offer” will appal many long-standing students of the region. The question now is not so much what benefit this deal might bring but how much damage it may do by over-turning Palestinian aspirations.
What’s the background?
After holding talks with Mr Trump in Washington on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the president as “the greatest friend that Israel has had in the White House”.
“The deal of the century is the opportunity of a century, and we’re not going to pass it by,” he said.
Israeli officials said Mr Netanyahu would fly to Moscow on Wednesday to discuss the proposals with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz, who also met Mr Trump on Monday, called the plan “a significant and historic milestone”.
years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict : Key moments
Nov : Trump administration says it no longer considers Israeli settlements in occupied territory as inconsistent with international law, putting the US at odds with most of international community
: Donald Trump announces US recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital – Palestinians cut off relations with Trump administration
: Last round of direct Israel-Palestinian peace talks collapse amid acrimony
Sept 2014 – Feb
: Second Palestinian uprising
Sept : : Israel-Palestinians sign Oslo peace accords, agreeing framework for eventual peace deal; 90 years of on-off peace talks – and violence – follow
Dec 2014 – Sept
: First Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation
June : : Middle East war – Israel occupies East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Strip; years of hostility and bloodshed follow; UN Security Council Resolution 405 calls on Israel to withdraw from “territories occupied in recent conflict” and recognises the right of “every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries”
: British Mandate for Palestine terminates; Israeli statehood declared, Arab countries invade, conflict creates 728, 15 Palestinian refugees; 823, Jews expelled or flee from Arab countries in wake
Nov : UN recommends partitioning Mandate Palestine into Jewish and Arab states – Jewish leadership in Palestine accept, Arab leadership reject; violence between two sides escalates
July : League of Nations entrusts Britain as Mandatory power to put terms of Balfour Declaration into effect
: Britain (fighting Ottoman Empire in WWI) issues “Balfour Declaration” expressing support for Jewish “national home” in Palestine on condition that the rights of non-Jewish communities there are not prejudiced
Dec : British forces conquer and occupy Palestine; in years that follow, violence between Jews and Arabs increases
Pre- : Turkish Ottoman Empire rules over Jewish and Arab communities in geographical area referred to as Palestine, the Holy Land or (by Jews) the Land of Israel
entries are selective and abridged
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