US President Donald Trump has launched a Middle East peace plan, promising a two-state solution, that favours Israel, and upsets Palestinians
US President Donald Trump has proposed creating a Palestinian state as part of a Middle East peace solution, drawing Palestinian condemnation for imposing strict conditions and for agreeing to let Israel maintain control of long-contested West Bank settlements.
Trump announced his plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace at a White House event with embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing at his side. It includes what Trump called a four-year freeze by Israel on new settlement activity.
Although Trump's stated aim was to end decades of conflict, the plan he advanced favoured Israel, underscored by the absence of Palestinians from Trump's announcement.
It seemed unlikely to immediately advance Israeli-Palestinian talks that broke down in 2014, but the plan was called "an important starting point for a return to negotiations" by the United Arab Emirates. Egypt also offered an encouraging statement.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however, mocked what Trump has called the "deal of the century," describing it as the "slap of the century."
Palestinians have refused to deal with the Trump administration in protest at pro-Israel policies such as moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the eastern part of which is sought by the Palestinians.
Trump set in motion a four-year timeline for Palestinians to agree to a security arrangement with Israel, halt attacks by the Islamist militant group Hamas and set up governing institutions in order to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in Abu Dis, a part of east Jerusalem.
This too poses a potential problem for Palestinians.
Abu Dis lies a mile east of Jerusalem's walled Old City, home to Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites. Palestinians living in Abu Dis are cut off by a high concrete Israeli security wall and checkpoints.
The site is unlikely to satisfy Palestinian leaders who want a more central location. Trump's plan says this barrier should serve as a border between the capitals of the two states, adding that Jerusalem should remain Israel's undivided, sovereign capital.
"My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel's security," Trump said.
Abbas, speaking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, called the plan the "slap of the century."
"Jerusalem is not for sale, our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain and your deal, the conspiracy will not pass," Abbas said.
Before the Trump announcement, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza City and Israeli troops reinforced positions near a flashpoint site between the Palestinian city of Ramallah and the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank.
Critics say both Trump and Netanyahu have been intent on diverting attention away from domestic troubles. Trump is going through an impeachment trial while Netanyahu was formally indicted in court on corruption charges on Tuesday. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
Netanyahu also faces a difficult election in March - his third in less than a year. He is locked in a battle with Blue and White Party chief Benny Gantz, who also expressed support for the Trump plan.
Netanyahu said that the Trump plan offers Palestinians a pathway to a future state but that it may take them "a very long time to get to the beginning of that path."
"If they agree to abide by all the conditions you have put forward in your plan, Israel will be there. Israel will be prepared to negotiate peace right away," he said.
Trump said he had sent a letter to Abbas asking him to study the deal.
"I explained to him that the territory allocated for his new state will remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years. During this time, Palestinians can use all appropriate deliberation to study the deal, negotiate with Israel, achieve the criteria for statehood and become a truly independent and wonderful state," he said.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/trump-middle-east-peace-plan-two-state-solution-world-news/f81c1d19-2074-464e-93cf-a74261b5524a