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Trump’s Middle East peace plan: key points

US President Donald Trump, together with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, presented yesterday in Washington his peace plan for the Middle East. Israelis called the plan "exceptional" while the Palestinians rejected it in its entirety: "We are not for sale"

Jerusalem undivided capital of the State of Israel; Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley; maintaining 15 settlements in the West Bank and a four-year freeze on the settlements, i.e. estimated time to sign a lasting peace with the Palestinians; territorial continuity for the Palestinian State guaranteed by an underground tunnel linking the West Bank and Gaza; East Jerusalem (or rather, the outskirts of the Holy City located beyond the Israeli separation wall) capital of a Palestinian State; $50 billion investment from the United States and some Arab countries in the future State. These are some of the key points of the Peace Plan presented on 28 January in Washington by US President Donald Trump.

The US tycoon, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing beside him, and never so close, not least because they are both struggling with domestic parliamentary inquiries, said it was the “last chance” for the Palestinians and a “realistic two-State solution.” Palestinian President Abu Mazen, who promptly rejected the proposal, said:  “The deal will not pass. We are not for sale.” This position is shared also by the Palestinian groups: Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad. The leader of the Arab-Israeli coalition Joint List, Ayman Odeh, bluntly dismissed the plan as “racist.” “We shall fight this blatant racism with all the means available at our disposal. Every citizen – Arab or Jewish – who believes in democracy and peace must oppugn this dangerous plan.” Under the deal the State of Palestine will not have an army, Hamas must disarm and Gaza must be fully demilitarized; there shall be no right of return or compensation to Palestinians driven out of their homes in 1948.

At international levelIran and Jordan firmly rejected the plan, while the UN reiterated the vision of two States “within recognized borders”, i.e. “on the basis of the pre-1967 war.” For the Arab League, “the Trump Plan legitimizes Israeli occupation.” Turkey slammed the proposal as “stillborn. Extorting Palestinian territory is not the solution to the conflict, those territories cannot be the object of negotiations. We will always stand by our Palestinian brothers. We will work for an independent Palestine in the Palestinian territory”, states the communiqué issued by Ankara’s Foreign Ministry, reaffirming that the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine constitutes an insurmountable “red line” for Turkey, and that Ankara will not accept any plan that “lacks the approval” of the Palestinian Authority. France insists that “a two-State solution, in conformity with international law and internationally-agreed parameters is necessary for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” Italy will “carefully evaluate” Washington’s proposal in coordination “with the EU and consistently with UN Resolutions”. The Italian Foreign Ministry expressed its conviction that the “two-State Solution remains the fairest and most sustainable option.” In contrast, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, albeit with a few variations, praised the “continuous efforts” of the Trump administration in striving to develop a comprehensive peace plan involving Israelis and Palestinians. In particular Qatar, calling for direct negotiations, reaffirmed the need for a Palestinian State “within 1967 borders including East Jerusalem” and refugees’ right to return. For the UK Trump’s plan “is a step forward.”

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