Trump peace plan: Israeli control over settlements, Palestinian state

“For years, the international community said that if Israel annexes any land in Judea and Samaria, there will be sanctions against us in the UN Security Council."

Construction near Efrat in the West Bank (photo credit: REUTERS)
Construction near Efrat in the West Bank
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump announced his “Deal of the Century” peace plan together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday in the White House, giving Israel full control of the settlements and Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The plan also established a Palestinian state. 
“For years, the international community said that if Israel annexes any land in Judea and Samaria, there will be sanctions against us in the UN Security Council,” Netanyahu explained in a press briefing at the Blair House. “Now, American will prevent those sanctions.”
Originally, Netanyahu announced that he would bring the annexation of all Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank to a cabinet vote on Sunday, but it was announced by senior Likud officials the next day that the vote would be put off. The cabinet vote would only have been on the settlements themselves, and would have included an outline of what each one entails. 
Once a vote does happen, the settlements will be considered the same as any other part of Israel under Israeli law and by the US.

“The US plan will allow construction within all existing settlements but ask Israel to hold off on expanding beyond their borders or building new settlements for the next four years.
 
Netanyahu said there will be a later vote on the land outside of existing settlements that Israel will be annexing according to the Trump plan, which makes up 30% of the West Bank. The US plan does not delineate the exact parameters of that land, and an Israeli team will work on defining it more precisely.
 
That means Israel will retain “broad territory surrounding the settlements to ensure their continued development,” Netanyahu said. As such, most illegal outposts will be able to remain in place. No Israelis or Palestinians will be evacuated from their homes under the plan, he said.
 
“The idea of dividing Jerusalem is buried,” Netanyahu said. “The idea of returning to 1967 lines as we knew it is buried. The right of return is buried; not even one refugee will be entering Israel.”

 
Additionally, the IDF and Israeli security forces will have access to defend all territory west of the Jordan River. Israel will control “air, sea, land and electromagnetic fields,” according to the prime minister.
 
A senior Israeli source said Netanyahu was presented with various security scenarios about the threats following Trump’s presentation and instructed the IDF to be prepared for any of them.
 
As for the threat of a destabilized Jordan following the annexation of the Jordan Valley, the source said the US is in touch with Jordanian King Abdullah II, and Israel has taken the various possibilities into consideration.
 
The US will accept Israeli sovereignty over all Jerusalem neighborhoods within the security fence.
 
The status quo on the Temple Mount will remain.
 
The US plan sets a pathway for a Palestinian state if in the next four years they meet conditions it sets, including stopping incitement to terrorism, payments to terrorists and disarming Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
 
If the conditions are met, then a Palestinian state could be recognized, with limited sovereignty, as Israel would have full security control. A Palestinian capital could be established in the part of east Jerusalem made up of Abu Dis, Kafr Akab and half of Shuafat. 
Land swaps would also be included in the deal for an eventual Palestinian state, which would require Israel to hold a referendum before surrendering land near the Gaza-Egypt border, as well as the neighborhoods in east Jerusalem. Granting areas populated by Israel Arabs near the Wadi Ara Triangle is also proposed in the Trump plan.
 
“If [the Palestinians] are genuinely prepared to make peace with the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said at the unveiling ceremony, “Israel will be prepared to negotiate peace right away.”
 
The Trump plan was presented in a celebratory event in the White House’s East Room.
 
“They say it’s the toughest deal ever to make,” Trump said of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. “In business, when I had a tough deal, people would say it’s tougher than Israel and the Palestinians. Actually, there’s nothing tougher than this, but we have to get it done. We have an obligation to humanity to get it done.”
 
Towards that goal, Trump said the White House is presenting the “most serious, realistic and detailed plan ever presented, one that could make Israelis, Palestinians and the region safer and more prosperous.”
 
“We are not here to lecture, we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship,” he said. “Instead, we are here to offer partnership, based on shared interests and values, to pursue a better future for us all.”
 
Trump said the plan will “more than double Palestinian territory… No Palestinians will be uprooted from their homes.”
 
If the Palestinians choose to accept the plan, some $50 billion will be infused into this new Palestinian state, Trump said.
 
Netanyahu in his speech said he has agreed to negotiate peace with the Palestinians on the basis of Trump’s peace plan. He noted several key reasons, including especially that rather than “play lip service to Israel’s security,” the president “recognizes that Israel must have sovereignty in places that enable Israel to defend itself by itself.
 
“For too long, the heart of Israel has been outrageously branded as illegally occupied territory,” Netanyahu said. “Today, Mr. President, you are puncturing this big lie. You are recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – large and small alike.”
 
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said he would not disregard out of hand as illegal a government decision to annex parts of the West Bank as part of the “Deal of the Century” simply because the government is transitional.
 
Speaking at the INSS conference in Tel Aviv, Mandelblit said that “transitional government must show restraint… but if the government asks… we will review it… sometimes you can do things that need to be rushed. It has happened… you need to see what is the basis to rush and why can’t the issue wait for a new government.”
 
Reviewing the issue “would not be exact math” and would need to be carefully studied, Mandelblit said.
 
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.