The President of the United States, Donald Trump, presented this Tuesday at the White House the call century deal for the Middle East, a grandiose name for a peace plan that was born mortally wounded, despite the almost three years it has been in the pipeline. The proposal gives Israel much of its historic aspirations, while offering the Palestinian authorities a road map to its own state subject to so many constraints that make it unlikely. That Trump expounded the plan accompanied by only one of the parties, the exultant Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, gave a good account of the chicken flight of the project.
“Today Israel is taking a big step towards peace,” Trump has said from the East room of the White House. This is, he said, “an opportunity for both sides to win, a realistic two-state solution that solves the Palestinian state’s risk to Israel’s security,” he stressed.
The plan forged by Washington more than doubles the territory under Palestinian control, according to the White House, although this expansion is impossible to identify on the maps that the specific document projects on that future state. Under the title of The Vision (The Vision), that future Palestinian state would comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which would be connected by tunnels or elevated roads and leaves the valued Jordan Valley under Israeli military control.
The proposal freezes for four years the construction of new settlements in order to make possible the solution of the “two states”, but calls on the Palestinian authorities to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s sole capital, ruling out the dismantling of existing settlements and establishes the consideration of Israel as a Jewish State, three points that complicate the approval of the Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas.
The proposal includes a rain of 50,000 million dollars (45,420 million euros) in investments over 10 years to promote prosperity, but that does not quite convince the Palestinian authorities. Half would go in principle to Gaza and the West Bank and to neighboring countries such as Jordan and Egypt.
“President Abbas, if you accept this path to peace, the United States and many other countries will be there to help you,” the US president has appealed, admitting that his Administration had been very favorable to Israel and assuring that he now wanted it to be “very good for the Palestinians too.”
Jerusalem, where cultures and beliefs intermingle, is the heart of the conflict in the Holy Land. In the original partition plan of Palestine under British mandate approved by the UN in 1947, an international status was reserved for it, regardless of the planned Jewish and Arab States. But it was divided by force of arms in 1949, with the eastern sector under Jordanian control, and entirely occupied by Israel in the Six Day War in June 1967. A third of its 900,000 inhabitants are Palestinians, with the right of residence but without nationality in his hometown. The Agreement of the century It appears to point to a return to the Palestinian Authority of several eastern and northern districts totaling some 100,000 residents, effectively separated in fact for 15 years by the separation wall erected by the Army after the explosion of violence from the Second Intifada.
Palestinians have always called for a return to the 1967 borders, which would involve establishing the capital of their future state in East Jerusalem, which includes the walled compound of the Old City with the holy sites of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In all previous peace plans, mediators preferred to postpone the final status of the Holy City until a final agreement was reached between Israelis and Palestinians. Trump ended the international consensus in 2017 with a statement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Since then all bridges between the White House and the Palestinian Authority have been broken and on Tuesday the American put a new nail in the coffin.
But the Republican seeks, with the presentation of such an ambitious plan, which tries to end 70 years of conflict, a sort of culmination to his latest movements in foreign policy. Over the course of weeks, he has succeeded in getting Congress to approve the reformulation of the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, has signed a principle of agreement with China to leave the trade war behind, and has killed a powerful Iranian general accused by Washington of collaboration with terrorism, Qasem Soleimani, without the operation having led, at least today, to a war escalation. Everything, at a more than complicated moment in national politics, in full impeachment by the scandal of pressure on Ukraine.
Netanyahu also helps, as he is accused in three corruption cases, in addition to the election he faces next month. This Tuesday, Israel’s attorney general has requested the prime minister’s prosecution for corruption. In Trump’s Washington, he has found a firm ally, starting with the fact that the person to whom the Republican has entrusted this thorny case is none other than Jared Kushner, son-in-law of the president and personal friend of Netanyahu.
This, as if intervening in an electoral rally, promised that the absorption of the strategic Jordan Valley and the settlements would affect 40% of the West Bank, in a cut that threatens the viability, due to lack of territorial continuity, of the future Palestinian State. This will be the case of the area known as E-1, between Maale Adumin and Jerusalem, whose annexation will practically divide the West Bank between north and south, like the Bantustans of South Africa in the apartheid. “This will give us a permanent eastern border to defend ourselves,” Netanyahu said.
The “realistic” two-state solution, but with less than one state, offered by Trump to the Palestinians in a letter sent to President Mahmud Abbas, is justified only by a huge injection of international funds in Gaza and the West Bank, but not guarantees a lasting political settlement to a conflict over 70 years old.
For the millions of Palestinian refugees, of whom at least five million are protected by a UN agency to subsist, the Israeli Prime Minister has only stated that his problem “must be solved outside the State of Israel”, thus excluding any perspective of the right of return to the houses and lands that they owned in 1948. Their destiny seems to remain, as until now, in the hands of the international community, neighboring countries and the economic compensation they may receive in exchange for renouncing their past. .