The Trump Middle East peace plan

A good analysis by Yossi Klein Halevi:

The Trump plan has reopened one of the most significant but least noted divides in Israeli politics: the split between the pragmatic right, which under certain conditions accepts territorial compromise, and the ideological right, which opposes any West Bank withdrawal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has enthusiastically embraced the Trump plan, while settlement leaders deeply oppose it. Though the plan offers the Palestinians only 70 per cent of the West Bank – considerably less than previous offers – it still conforms to the basic principles of those other plans: a Palestinian state with the capital in East Jerusalem, however symbolic.

Worst of all for the ideological right, the Trump plan would limit the ability of settlements to expand, effectively turning them into islands surrounded by Palestinian sovereignty and threatening the long-term viability of the most isolated settlements. That the most pro-Israel administration in memory is presenting a plan whose principles are anathema to the settlement movement is another reminder to Israelis of how deeply the two-state solution has become embedded in international expectation.

So the plan is anathema to the hardline settlement movement. It does preserve their current settlements but freezes and isolates them. In time they may even voluntarily be removed as unviable.

With each Palestinian rejection, the map of a potential sovereign Palestine shrinks. Arguably no national movement has rejected offers for statehood more often than the Palestinians – from the 1937 Peel Commission, which offered the Palestinians 80 per cent of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea including the West Bank; through the 1947 UN partition plan, offering 45 per cent of that land; and President Bill Clinton’s December, 2000, offer of 22 per cent. Each of those plans was endorsed by mainstream Zionist and Israeli leaders. The Trump plan has further reduced the map.

Every time they say no, they end up with a worse offer. Think if they had said yes to the 1947 plan.

It is long past time for Palestinian leaders to do what they have never done in the history of this conflict – offer their own detailed peace plan. We know what Palestinian leaders oppose – but what exactly do they support? Beyond the repetition of the formula of “two states along the 1967 borders,” what is the Palestinian position on refugees, land swaps, settlement blocs and holy places?

Agreed. They have never put up a serious alternative plan. If they did, then real negotiations could occur.

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