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Trump's Middle East peace plan could leave Israeli settlers in place: report

Jason Greenblatt (L), the US President's envoy for Middle East peace, meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on June 20, 2017.
US Embassy in Tel Aviv

US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan envisions the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, but not necessarily according to 1967 borders, according to a television report on Israel’s Hadashot News outlet that referenced anonymous senior officials on Israel’s negotiating team.

According to the report, Trump's proposal would be based upon the principle of agreed “land swaps” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but not according to 1967 boundaries and with no expectation that any Jews, or Arabs would need to be evacuated in order to implement the principles of the plan.

The Trump administration will also accept Israel’s security need to maintain the presence of the IDF in the Jordan Valley, a section of the West Bank that runs directly alongside the Jordan River, the report said..

The Israeli sources cited in the report said that Trump intends to recognize an independent Palestinian state, a new revelation, as the US President has not publicly called for the establishment of a Palestinian state nor a two-state solution between Israel and the PA.

The status of Jerusalem has apparently not been settled yet and is not currently on the agenda. Instead, the matter of officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as well as Trump’s previously stated plan to move the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will be postponed in order to allow for the advancement of peace talks.

GPO

Real-estate approach

Israel’s negotiating team, according to the report, perceives their counterparts in the Trump administration including Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, as envisioning the Israel-Palestinian conflict to be somewhat of a real-estate dispute and therefore solvable with financial incentives.

The PA would be incentivized to accept the peace plan with hundreds of millions in aid from Sunni Arab countries in the region, led by Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the peace plan would be marketed as a regional process in which the Saudis, leading other Sunni countries, assume primary roles.

Netanyahu was described as being incentivized to accept the plan as there might not be a better offer from a future White House or a friendlier US president.

Officials in the White House and the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, however, expressed respective rejections of the report.

“There is constant speculation about the work we are doing and this report is not so much different” a White House official said in response to Hadashot News. “The details are essentially a mix of ideas that have been going on for decades and not necessarily accurate.”

A White House official quoted by Israel Hayom made similar remarks: “Rather than accurately reflecting the situation, this report mixes all sorts of possibilities and ideas that have been around for decades.”

Netanyahu’s office also denied the accuracy of the report, stressing that the prime minister’s acceptance of the plan will depend on its details.

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