Unlike other deals American presidents have tried to effectuate in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, President Trump’s new plan is far more sympathetic to Israeli concerns and more realistic in its approach, as it acknowledges Israel will not root up Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, both of which were part of Biblical Israel; it does not divide the Jews’ eternal capital Jerusalem, and it does not accept the Palestinian Arabs’ “right of return,” which would destroy the Jewish state.
The plan apparently already has some Arab states backing it. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba of the UAE, Ambassador Abdullah bin Rashid Al Khalifa of Bahrain and the Ambassador Hunaina al-Mughairy of Oman were in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday as Trump announced his plan.
According to the Jerusalem Post, here are some of the key points of the plan, which has been three years in the making. Israel would supervise security from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The new borders of the state of Israel will include retaining 20% of the areas of Judea and Samaria while giving up an area in the Negev near the Gaza-Egypt border. Thus the Palestinian Arabs will have the option of creating a state comprised of the remaining 80% of Judea and Samaria in four years but only if the Palestinian Arabs accept the plan Palestinian Authority stops paying terrorists and inciting terror, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad put down its weapons.
The Post adds, “In addition, the American plan calls on the Palestinians to give up corruption, respect human rights, freedom of religion and a free press, so that they don’t have a failed state. If those conditions are met, the US will recognize a Palestinian state and implement a massive economic plan to assist it.”
A limited number of Palestinian Arab “refugees” would be allowed to enter the eventual Palestinian state.
Jerusalem will remain undivided, although the Palestinian Arabs may establish a capital in northern and eastern neighborhoods outside the Israeli security fence – Kfar Aqab, Abu Dis and half of Shuafat.
Israel will retain the Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements in the West Bank up to their security perimeters. 15 isolated settlements which Israel Defense Forces would have access to would be part of a Palestinian state would be banned from expanding for four years.
Prior peace plans have been rejected by the Palestinian Arabs and/or the Arab World; in 1947, UN resolution 181 called for the creation of two states, but every Arab country voted against it and said they would launch a war to stop it from being implemented. The Arab Higher Committee, representing the Palestinian Arabs, opposed the plan and threatened war. The Israeli War of Independence followed in 1948, which ended with an independent Jewish state.
In 1978, Israel and Egypt signed the Camp David Accords; Egyptian President Anwar Sadat begged the PLO and its terrorist leader Yasser Arafat to accept the deal, but instead, as CAMERA notes, it was rejected, with PLO gunmen even murdering West Bank Palestinians, who agreed with Sadat.
In 2000, Israeli leader Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians all of Gaza and most of Judea and Samaria as well as no Israeli control over the border with Jordan; Arafat instead launched the murderous Second Intifada, in which over 1,000 Jews were killed and over 8,000 were injured..
U.S. negotiator Ambassador Dennis Ross told Fox News that Arafat rejected the offer “because fundamentally I do not believe he can end the conflict. We had one critical clause in this agreement, and that clause was, this is the end of the conflict. Arafat’s whole life has been governed by struggle and a cause. Everything he has done as leader of the Palestinians is to always leave his options open, never close a door. He was being asked here, you’ve got to close the door. For him to end the conflict is to end himself.”
In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a plan that would have divided Jerusalem and evacuated numerous settlements including Ofra, Elon Moreh, Beit El and Kiryat Arba along with Judaism’s second most holy city, Hebron, where King David was crowned.
Jackson Diehl of The Washington Post spoke with Abbas and reported, “In our meeting Wednesday, Abbas acknowledged that Olmert had shown him a map proposing a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank … He confirmed that Olmert ‘accepted the principle’ of the ‘right of return’ of Palestinian refugees … In all, Olmert’s peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it’s almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further.”
Abbas rejected the offer.