On January 28, 2020, US President Donald Trump released his administration’s Isreali-Palestinian peace plan at the White House. The deal, unveiled alongside Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was outright rejected by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who reportedly accuses the United States of bias toward Isreal.
Palestinian leaders reportedly gave little to no input into the negotiations, as official relations between the two countries were cut off after President Trump announced the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017.
The Israelis and Palestinians have been locked in an ongoing feud over political control over disputed territory after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Despite repeated attempts to bring the conflict to an end over the years, a mutually agreed-upon solution has been elusive.
The Palestinians, currently living within specific enclaves within Israel, are demanding their own independent state. Although the creation of a Palestinian State has been a staple of proposed peace deals for decades, laying out and agreeing upon the details have always proven difficult.
In Trump’s plan, a Palestinian state is created but is not made up of the locations Palestinian leaders wish for. As a prerequisite for any plan, they are demanding control over all of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Trump’s plan, however, fails to grant them control over significant portions of the West Bank. As for East Jerusalem, Palestine would be partially restricted from this portion of the historic city – a location that contains many culturally significant sites. Palestinians would also have limited sovereignty. Security of their territory would still be governed by Israel, with Palestine being demilitarized.
Israel forging ahead
Another critique Palestinians have about the deal is the issue of Israeli settlers. For years, Israeli citizens have reportedly been moving into territories designated for Palestinians, especially in the West Bank. Although the deal would place a four-year freeze on any new settlements, the current ones would be allowed to remain.
Netanyahu has proposed moving ahead in the Israeli parliament with the implementation of parts of Trump’s deal. Netanyahu reportedly plans to annex a portion of West Bank territory, as well as the Jordan Valley, in an attempt to lock in the areas for Isreali settlers.
Critics have advised against pushing ahead with the deal without Palestinian agreement. US officials, however, suggest they have no obligation to compromise. “Israel does not have to wait,” said US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman after the plan was released.