The World News, Views and Analysis

Trump Unveils Long-Awaited
Middle East Peace Plan

US President Mr. Donald Trump unveils his long-awaited Middle East Peace Plan in the presence of Israel’s Prime Minister
Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu on January 28, 2020.

US President Mr. Donald Trump on January 28, 2020 unveiled his long-awaited Middle East Peace Plan, mainly proposing to keep Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the disputed West Bank settlements. As part of the largely pro-Israel Plan, Palestinians have a window of four years to study the deal, negotiate with Israel, and “achieve the criteria for statehood.”

The blueprint of the plan, which was jointly announced by Mr. Trump and Israel Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, aims to solve one of the world’s longest-running conflicts. It was drafted under the stewardship of President Mr. Trump’s son-in-law Mr. Jared Kushner. Mr. Trump promised to provide $50 billion in international investment to build the new Palestinian entity and open an embassy in its new state.

The plan, which Mr. Trump described as ‘Deal of the Century’ and “the last opportunity” for Palestinians, was, however rejected by Palestinian President Mr. Mahmoud Abbas as well as Islamist militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza Strip. The UN Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres also said that the UN supports two states living in peace and security within recognised borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines. The Arab League and the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation also rejected the Plan.

The issues of the holy city of Jerusalem and the West Bank settlements have been mired in controversy for decades. Both Israel and the Palestinians hold competing claims to Jerusalem. The Palestinians insist that East Jerusalem, which Israel had occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, be the capital of their future state. It may be noted that the Palestinians broke off contacts with the US in December 2017, after Mr. Trump decided to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy to the city from Tel Aviv.

So far as West Bank settlements are concerned, more than 400,000 Israelis live there although the settlements are considered illegal under international law. The Palestinians also insist on borders based on ceasefire lines which separated Israel and East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza between 1949 and 1967, which Israel rejects.

Meanwhile, India has reaffirmed its call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and asked both sides to resolve all issues through direct negotiations. The Ministry of External Affairs stated that India has been consistently supportive of the Palestinian cause and has called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

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