Trump's controversial Middle East plan

Friday, 2020-01-31 11:40:09
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Palestinians watch a television broadcasting the announcement of Mideast peace plan by US President Donald Trump, in the southern Gaza Strip, January 28, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – US President Donald Trump has announced a long-awaited "Middle East Peace Plan", considered by the White House leader as a “deal of the century”, but it is not without anticipation of favouritism towards Israel, stirring controversy in the international community and strong opposition from Palestine.

The 30-page economic section was launched by the White House in 2019, suggesting donor countries and investors contribute more than US$50 billion to boost the economy for Palestine and its neighbours Egypt and Jordan over the next 10 years. The political part, a key part of the 80-page plan, which has been of greater concern for the public, has just been published with a proposed "realistic two-state solution" for Israel and Palestine.

Within Trump’s proposal, the Palestinian State would be established with its capital as a part of East Jerusalem, with some conditions for the Palestinian side, while continuing to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided and extremely important capital, which is strongly opposed by Palestine. Trump's plan also recognises the vast majority of Israeli Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law. In return, Israel will agree to stop building new settlements within four years. This means that the White House leader has strengthened his stance on continuing to recognise Israel's sovereignty over part of the West Bank, despite the strong opposition from Palestine as well as the international community.

Although Trump affirms that the plan he announced is a big step towards peace in the Middle East, his proposal has caused a "storm" in the international community.

Palestine and a number of countries in the region have strongly protested against Trump’s plan, even considering this as a move to pull back the "Middle East peace ship" which is at a standstill. Palestinian leaders dismissed Trump's approach and called on the international community not to accept the US plan because it is a violation of international law. Palestine always defends to the bitter end a two-state solution, with the creation of an independent Palestinian State, based on the borders from before the 1967 Middle East War, with its capital based in East Jerusalem. Palestinians are determined to pursue a just struggle for their self-determination and fundamental rights. Meanwhile, the United Nations, the Arab League and the European Union have all called for sustaining dialogue and said that negotiations between Israel and Palestine are the only way to reach an agreement on realistic, serious and balanced peace.

Trump's Middle East peace plan also met with opposition among US Democrats. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the favourite Democratic presidential candidate, condemned the plan for not giving a true future to Palestinians, saying she would oppose any plan like the previous one launched by Trump, which is without the involvement of Palestinian negotiators. Senator Chris Van Hollen even called Trump's proposal a "anti-peace plan" and he thought it was a one-sided deal that disadvantages the Palestinians. The proposals by the Trump administration are also considered "a political circus” repertoire, being announced by the White House head at a time when he was in the storm of the impeachment trial as well as in an important period as he is running his re-election campaign. The move is thought to intend to divert public attention from the Trump impeachment trial that the Democratic Party is promoting, as well as to help Trump to win support in the upcoming presidential election.

The Middle East peace process, promoted by the United Nations and the international community, has long been aimed at a two-state solution to establishing a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. The international community welcomes US mediation efforts for this peace process, but it must be based on the principle of ensuring fairness and impartiality in order to bring the two conflicting sides back to the negotiating table after many years of delay. The creation of a controversial plan is not an effective solution. It also hinders the efforts of the Middle East peace process, which has encountered too many obstacles already.