Trump releases map of proposed Israel Palestine state borders

‘I hope they read this plan,’ says White House adviser Jared Kushner, referring to the Palestinian people

Clark Mindock
New York
Tuesday 28 January 2020 19:33 GMT
Trump says Jerusalem will be Israel's 'undivided capital' under Middle East peace plan

Donald Trump has released a proposed map for a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinian, which sets up a still long-shot chance for a recognised Palestinian state.

The map, which the president posted on his Twitter account, would establish a country with a capital in East Jerusalem, as well as a tunnel connecting the West Bank to a separate portion of the country along the shores of the Mediterranean. Soon after the plan’s release, critics slammed it as enforcing “apartheid” in the Middle East, as the Trump administration moved forward with a plan that Palestinian leaders say they were not consulted on.

“This is what a future State of Palestine can look like, with a capital in parts of East Jerusalem,” Mr Trump wrote in posts in English and Arabic.

The plan marks the latest attempt by an American president’s administration to broker a deal in the conflict that dates back to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

The effort has been led by White house adviser Jared Kushner, who is Mr Trump’s son-in-law and a former real estate magnate.

In a live interview on Al Jazeera that was broadcast with contemporaneous translation into Arabic, Mr Kushner dodged questions about whether the plan would give the Palestinian people autonomy, saying instead that the plan gives Palestinians “opportunity”, should they agree to and read the plan.

“The status quo is broken [and] the Palestinian people are on a really bad trajectory,” Mr Kushner said.

He added: “We have given them an opportunity, and I hope they read this plan.”

Mr Kushner, who is himself Jewish, had taken the responsibility on soon after Mr Trump took the Oval Office, alongside other official duties including promoting American innovation, the US opioid crisis and arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

At the time of Israel’s creation in 1948, a large swath of the area was carved by the United Nations for what was to be designated as an Arab state, alongside a Jewish state with Tel Aviv as its capital. Technically within the borders of the Arab state, Jerusalem was then expected to be considered an international city.

Since then, Israel has taken massive amounts of land, with major gains coming during the Six-Day War in 1967 when it captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula up to the Suez Canal. And, in the ensuing decades, Israel has proceeded with settlements across the West Bank even as Palestinian leaders have claimed those areas to be illegal.

Under the proposed rule from the Trump administration, no Israeli or Palestinian people would be relocated, effectively legitimising those settlements that critics call illegal, but would also freeze Israeli settlement construction for at least four years. The capital of Israel would become Jerusalem — which Mr Trump has pledged recently will be “undivided” — while the potential Palestinian state would be on East Jerusalem, beyond the border.

The deal has been slammed by those who see the validation of Israel’s settlements to be a deal-breaker, with the Palestinian envoy to the UK calling the deal a sham.

“This is a political circus, it’s a sad piece of political theatre,” said Husam Zomlot, who was previously head of the Palestinian mission to Washington.

Ofer Cassif, the only Jewish candidate in the Arab majority Joint List political alliance in Israel, meanwhile, reacted by warning the deal represents the imposition of an apartheid state in the Middle East.

“The Trump Plan is not a peace plan but a war plan, a program to commemorate the occupation and regulate apartheid,” Mr Cassif said. “Ignoring the Palestinians and their exclusion from the ‘plan’ indicated this in the first place. Not Israel’s interest and certainly not the Palestinian interest are expressed in it, but rather the interest of settlers and corrupt state leaders.”

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