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April 15, 2019 11:54 am

Report: Trump’s Peace Proposal May Not Include Palestinian Statehood

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold up a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights as Netanyahu exits the White House from the West Wing in Washington, DC, March 25, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Leah Millis / File.

President Donald Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan reportedly might not include the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Over the weekend, The Washington Posreported that Arab officials close to the negotiating team led by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner described the plan as primarily concerned with economic incentives offered the Palestinians, but also designed to “enshrine” Israeli control over the disputed West Bank.

The plan, which has been kept secret for the past two years, is likely to be presented soon, following Israel’s April 9 elections and after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s formation of a new government.

The Post quoted an unnamed official as saying, “We are still weighing a variety of factors. Timing is still being worked out, and no decision has been made at this time as to when we are going to roll it out.”

The Palestinians have rejected the plan sight unseen ever since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy there.

As a result, few give the plan much of a chance of succeeding. Ilan Goldenberg, who was involved in former Secretary of State John Kerry’s failed peace push in 2014, said, “I think this plan is dead on arrival.”

“The biggest concern is, if the plan is heavily biased toward Israel, which is what we expect, and they put it down and the Palestinians reject it, then it becomes a predicate to move toward annexation,” he warned.

Former State Department official and Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiator Aaron David Miller tweeted in response to the Post story, “Terrific scoop. No real Palestinian State in Trump peace plan. Point of plan isn’t to start negotiations or get to a deal; it’s to permanently alter US policy toward Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee Jibril Rajoub told the Israeli news site Walla in response to the report, “The solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict must concentrate on the creation of two states for two people in which the capital of Palestinian is Jerusalem.”

“Without this solution, it is expected that the conflict will continue for much longer, and every attempt to harm the rights of the Palestinian people will lead in the end to an explosion,” he added.

In a public letter, a group of prominent former European leaders called on Europe to oppose any US peace plan that rejected a Palestinian state.

“It is time for Europe to stand by our principled parameters for peace in Israel-Palestine,” The Guardian quoted the letter as saying.

“Unfortunately, the current US administration has departed from longstanding US policy,” it added, slamming Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It also blasted Trump for “a disturbing indifference to Israeli settlement expansion.”

The letter’s signatories said they were “convinced that a plan that reduces Palestinian statehood to an entity devoid of sovereignty, territorial contiguity, and economic viability would severely compound the failure of previous peacemaking efforts, accelerate the demise of the two-state option, and fatally damage the cause of a durable peace for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

If this occurred, they asserted, “Europe must pursue its own course of action.”

The letter was signed by former prime ministers of France, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Belgium, and Romania, as well as two ex-NATO secretary-generals, a former Irish president and two retired UK foreign secretaries.

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