President Trump has proposed the most sweeping and comprehensive roadmap for peace in the Middle East of any US president in modern history.
The plan, which was announced midday on Tuesday, Jan. 28, proposes a two-state solution in which Israel would freeze settlement construction for a period of four years. It includes a proposal for a tunnel connecting the West Bank to Gaza. Dubbed by Trump as the “deal of the century,” the plan sets a number of benchmarks for Palestinians to reach in order to achieve statehood.
“It’s been a long and very arduous process to arrive at this moment,” Trump said while standing beside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House on Tuesday. The benchmarks include fighting terrorism and bolstering free speech, among other reforms.
Trump said the proposal is a “suggestion” that can set the basis for negotiations. The president called peace between the two parties “the most difficult challenge of all,” but then added, “I was not elected to do small things or shy away from big problems.”
The proposal would also give Palestinians more land by offering land swaps south of Gaza. According to the 80-page proposal, any future state of Palestine would have to be demilitarized.
Trump met with Netanyahu and his political opponent Benny Gantz this week, and both have agreed to work on the plan regardless of who wins the current contentious Israeli election.
Trump met with Netanyahu and his political opponent Benny Gantz this week, and both have agreed to work on the plan regardless of who wins the Israeli election.
The plan would also allow Israel to maintain sovereignty over much of the Jordan Valley, a portion of which is in the West Bank, but in the future, that could be scaled back if a Palestinian state abides by and further develops conditions of the plan.
Trump said that if Palestinians accept the proposal, the United States will infuse the new state with “about $50 billion” to help with economic development.
“There are many countries that want to partake in this,” he said. “The Palestinian poverty rate will be cut in half and their GDP will double and triple.”
Further, the plan stipulates that all Muslims who wish to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, will be able to do so.
The plan was three years in the making and spearheaded by Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
The recognition of Israeli settlements will be a major sticking point for Palestinians. They have already preemptively rejected the proposal, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calling Trump a “dog.”
“They called me from Washington, and I did not even pick up the phone,” Abbas said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “I said ‘no’ and I will continue to say no … We are going for difficult days, and we are beginning to bear the consequences of the refusal. Resistance must be escalated at all points of friction. All young people must be encouraged [to reject the meddling of the US].”