After over three years of talks and even though no agreement has been reached president Trump has launched his peace plan. The announced plan is overwhelmingly pro Israel, giving Israel everything they want short of full expulsion of all Palestinians and appears designed to provoke war rather than bring peace.
The Trump peace plan demands the disarming of Islamic Jihad and Hamas and the demilitarization of the West Bank and Gaza, thereby green lighting an Israeli invasion of Gaza since Hamas and Islamic Jihad will never agree to disarm.
The plan also:
- Recognizes all settlements and outposts as Israeli territory but freezes any further expansion
- Allows Israel to annex the Jordan Valley
- Jerusalem to completely belong to Israel
- The Palestinian Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis to be the Palestinian capital.
- Palestine will be completely demilitarized and
- Have no control over its borders or air space
- In exchange for the settlements, Palestine is to be given some desert wastes in the Negev and $50 billion
All of the benefits to Israel will be immediate but the Palestinians will not receive their state for four years and then only if they agree to certain conditions, such as recognizing Israel as a “Jewish” state, which has implications for the Palestinian citizens and residents of Israel.
The plan is obviously unacceptable to Palestinians and a recipe for war.
Do not think that this is the final plan, in reality the initial plan may be a negotiating ploy by Trump.
By presenting a very hard line plan with bad guy Netanyahu which brings a bloody war, the stage will be set to present a more reasonable plan with a good guy Gantz which would be more likely to be approved.
On Sunday 2 Feb Netanyahu will ask cabinet to begin annexing the Jordan Valley and all 150 Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, i.e. 30% of the West Bank. That will begin the process of annexation although more legal preparation must be done before a cabinet vote. The planned Israeli annexations will first need to be precisely mapped before they can be approved by the government.
Update 1 Feb: The Trump administration has begun blocking Israel from annexing land until after the March 2 election and a new Israeli government is formed. This sudden move appears to have come because the Palestinian Authority intends to present a counter proposal to the UNSC within the next two weeks. The two proposals could then form a basis for negotiations after the Israeli election.
The Knesset will approve the Trump peace plan and Israel is rushing large numbers of reinforcements to the Gaza border and the West Bank.
Netanyahu’s main rival, Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party, has said it would only support implementing the plan and annexations after a stable government is formed after the March 2 election. Netanyahu facing corruption charges is keen to push annexation through now since he might not remain PM after the elections. This means that depending on the progress of the annexation process, Hamas could try to prevent annexation with the only tool they have, attacks, in the lead up to the March 2 election.
The region is explosive with Gaza and the Palestinian Authority strongly objecting to the plan. It looks like the plan could trigger a major war.
Watch for large demonstrations in Gaza and on the West Bank leading to war breaking out between Israel and Gaza as the annexation process progresses. This war would likely spread to include Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. See the transcript of our Middle East Analysis program here.
After the conflict watch for a new government in Israel and in Palestine and quite probably addendum’s to the peace plan which would make it acceptable to the new governments, but which would be opposed by the some of the Jewish Extremist Settler Movement people.
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