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March 12, 2018 4:21 pm

Ex-State Department Official Skeptical of Trump’s Pending Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump at Ben-Gurion International Airport, May 23, 2017. Photo by Kobi Gideon / GPO

A former US State Department Middle East negotiator expressed heavy skepticism on Monday that President Donald Trump’s reportedly soon-to-be unveiled Israeli-Palestinian peace plan will accomplish anything.

“I don’t have a lot of confidence [in it],” Aaron David Miller — currently a vice president at the Washington, DC-based Woodrow Wilson think tank who worked in the past for the State Department in both Republican and Democratic administrations — told The Algemeiner.

On Monday, the The New York Times revealed what it said were leaked details of Trump’s plan, reporting that it “will not call for a two-state solution as one of its goals. … Nor will it call for a ‘fair and just solution’ for Palestinian refugees.”

Miller downplayed the report, saying, “I worked on the peace process negotiations for 20 years. I’ve never seen a degree of radio silence imposed on any effort Republican or Democrat at any level like the degree of radio silence that’s imposed on this one.”

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In Miller’s view, only Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt — along with the president — know the precise details of the plan.

“It is futile to the point of distraction to try to speculate on what’s in it or what should be in it or what won’t be in it,” he said. “We’ll find out soon enough. But I think it’s pointless to speculate.”

However, Miller insisted that any push toward peace at the moment would be largely pointless.

“There is no way,” he stated, “under these circumstances, with the gaps on the six core issues that define the Israeli-Palestinian problem — borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem, recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews, and end of conflict and claims — that the prime minister of Israel and the president of the Palestinian Authority can reach an agreement. Unless one or both are prepared to scale back their demands and their needs and requirements. And I don’t see either of these two things happening.”

The real question, Miller said, is whether the plan will present “what a normal human being would describe as a basis for a serious negotiation? … I would argue that it won’t.”

Over a decades-long peace process, Miller added, Israel has generally responded to initiatives by saying “yes but” and the Palestinians by saying “no.”

“I would say the Kushner-Greenblatt-Trump plan will afford the Israelis the opportunity to say ‘yes but,’ but that it is certain to produce a ‘no’ from the Palestinians,” he continued. “That’s about the best you could do in terms of what’s actually in this thing and what it’s designed to achieve.”

Asked by The Algemeiner whether the Palestinians would be willing to negotiate on the basis of any peace plan given their rejection of the US as an honest broker following Trump’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Miller replied, “Yes I do. If the current administration made a legitimate and honest effort to balance these requirements and produce what I just suggested, which would be a credible basis for Palestinians and Israelis to reengage in a serious negotiation.”

Miller noted that the presentation of a peace plan prior to negotiations is almost unprecedented in the history of Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy. Given this, he said, “the question is, will it be a dud, DOA? Or offer something that can entice the parties to reengage? I don’t have a lot of confidence.”

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  • Elainee Perkins

    There is a simple and RIGHT answer to this problem. This is ALL they need to do. They need to declare ALL of ISRAEL to be Jewish Land BECAUSE it is.
    They need to move the PA and all Refugees to Jordan. The money that has been given to the PA for Gaza should be given to Jordan to help these Refugees get setup with houses, etc. etc. This is the RIGHT thing to do and the ONLY thing that is RIGHT. After all, Britain took 77% of land that was promised to ISRAEL and gave it to the Arabs to form Trans-Jordan now called Jordan. The UN and every country already knows that this is the TRUTH. They know that ALL of Israel is Jewish land. There are two States already and have been for many many years. They are: Jordan (For Arabs). ISRAEL (For Jewish People). Now, if I can understand this, then why can’t these Jewish hating countries understand it as well.

  • Joseph Feld

    In 1948 about 850 Jews were expelled from Arab states and about 750,000 Arabs left Israel for a range of reasons. 850,000 Jews who had lived in the Middle East since Bible Times found new homes and new lives in Israel, UK and USA. 750,000 Arabs were denied new homes in the Arab countries — aside from Jordan, created as part of the British Mandate for Palestine. Arab countries kept fellow Arabs in refugee camps. According to Winston Churchill 77% of British Mandatory Palestine became the East Bank Kingdom of Jordan, with the understanding that the remaining 23% on the West Bank would become the Jewish national home — from the River to the Sea. UK PM Neville Chamberlain, between the World Wars needed Arab support and chose to betray the Jews, closing the gates to British Palestine while allowing Arabs to move into the area of the Jewish national home. 24 Arab countries could have between them given new homes and new lives to fellow Arabs but chose not to.

  • Ita

    Interesting but We disagree. When boiled down to its common denominator if you really think about EVERYTHING that has happened you will agree that tge real issue is control of the Temple Mount. Just look at the most youtrageous response to every issue and you must agree that the most serious violent reaction comes when the Temple Mount is involved. The most serious war cry is that Jews want to destroy the dome on the Temple mount. This means that there will never be peace as long as the Temple Mount exists as a claim by both sides. This is also why the Temple Mount is the the most highly protected issue. AND why the Arabs have done everything in their power to secure the Temple Mount at all costs. Including illegally burying their learders on the Mount. If Israel truely wanted to assert its proof of Jewish long existance in the land all the PM has to do is take pictures of old stones in the cemetery. OR take every member of the UN security council to the Huge Very Old Cemetery behind the Temple Mount. The Arabs can not show any such proof to 10,000 of that Magnitude.

  • Ted Beckett

    The Bible is the only legitimate document that should be allowed to determine Israel’s boundaries. It fails to mention a 2 state solution!

    • Vestina

      So true.