Trump’s peace plan brings more questions than answers

Unclear is whether the plan will propose outright the creation of a Palestinian state, the Palestinians’ core demand.
Sunday 05/05/2019
An elderly Palestinian refugee holds the key of her family’s home, in what is now Israel, as she sits at a dwelling in the Balatah refugee camp east of Nablus. 		             (AFP)
A key demand. An elderly Palestinian refugee holds the key of her family’s home, in what is now Israel, as she sits at a dwelling in the Balatah refugee camp east of Nablus. (AFP)

The Trump administration said it has a peace initiative for the Israeli-Palestinian crisis that will succeed where all the others came up short.

The administration has not released information on how it hopes to get this done but Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law who was tasked with the dossier, is reported to have told foreign ambassadors that people should keep “an open mind” regarding the complicated issue.

Kushner said the peace plan is to be unveiled after Israel forms a governing coalition after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s election victory and after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in early June, an unidentified source told Newsweek magazine.

“We will all have to look for reasonable compromises that will make peace achievable,” Kushner said, the source stated.

It would indeed be interesting to know how they are going to get this done.

There are four basic points that need to be addressed before any lasting peace accord can be finalised.

The reason all attempts to reach an acceptable peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis consistently failed is because, as a former Israeli national security adviser once explained: “The minimum that the Palestinians will accept is more than what the Israelis are willing to offer and the most the Palestinians are ready to concede is less than what the Israelis are willing to accept.”

These are the points in question:

Recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the state of Palestine and Israel. While the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Fatah, the main political bodies in the Palestinian territories, may accept that, Hamas, the Islamist resistance group, has stated it would never fully recognise Israel. There is the first stumbling block.

The right of return of Palestinians who were chased out of Palestine in the wars of 1948 and 1967. These are Palestinians from lands that are today inside what is considered Israel proper, or the 1948 borders. The figure thrown around is an estimated 350,000. This point may be the easiest one to solve because, instead of returning, they could agree on financial compensation.

The question of Palestinian refugees. Refugees in third countries and who hold status of refugee, that is who do not hold citizenship of that country and hold only UN travel documents, could receive a Palestinian passport that would allow them to travel but not to reside. There is precedent with the British issuing East Asians B Type passports when they were kicked out of Uganda.

Status of Jerusalem as the capital for both Palestinians and Israelis. Trump already ruled on this issue with the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv. It is unsure how the Palestinians would address that point.

Final borders. This has been another sticking point in previous negotiations as Israel raises security concerns.

Those are the basic points there is no getting around. Trump has already stacked the cards against the Palestinians.

Achieving this peace plan would be quite a big feather in Trump’s cap, especially seeing that Kushner, one of the main architects of the peace proposal, is his son-in-law.

The proposal has two major components: A political piece that addresses core political issues such as the status of Jerusalem and an economic part that aims to help the Palestinians strengthen their economy.

Unclear is whether the plan will propose outright the creation of a Palestinian state, the Palestinians’ core demand.

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