There have been many speculations over President Donald Trump’s plan to reach an ultimate deal between Israel and the Palestinians, and until December 6, when the US president announced his infamous decision with regard to Jerusalem, the Palestinian leadership was cautiously optimistic over its prospects.
But the Jerusalem declaration dashed all hopes and gave the Palestinians, as well as the Arabs, a reality check on where the US administration stands with regard to the classical two-state solution, previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and pertinent UN resolutions on the issues. And if we are to believe the leaked report that Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Ereikat submitted to the PCC last week, then we now have a first look at the main parameters of the proposed peace plan to be unveiled by the White House sometime in the coming few weeks or months. These parameters are
— Palestine will be a “state minus” whatever that term means.
— Israel will maintain security control over the Palestinian entity. Again,
this is a vague term that could be interpreted to mean an open-ended
— Israel will maintain permanent presence along the Jordan River.
— The future of Jerusalem is to be determined by the parties.
— There will be no settlement evacuation.
— The refugee problem will have a just solution.
— There will be land swaps but not based on the 1967 lines.
These are the alleged broad settings that the US peace plan will be based
on. And they can only mean one thing: The White House has “borrowed” these terms and conditions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s playbook on resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. In effect the proposed plan does away with the Oslo agreement and with all previous US positions and commitments in addition to sidelining UN resolutions and associated international laws on the issue.
But what is likely to happen is this: The US will present its plan — barring a sudden change in calculations in the White House — and the Palestinians will reject it immediately. Israel will embrace it, with the usual reservations, and will kick-start a series of unilateral moves to implement major portions of the plan. They will include annexing the settlements, imposing military rule over East Jerusalem; in order to justify steps to hasten the forced transfer of its Arab residents and embark on plans to evict Palestinians from villages along the Jordan Valley.