President Trump tweeted his intention to reveal details of the much-awaited ‘Deal of the Century’ to Prime Minister Netanyahu and his political opponent, Benny Gantz when they come to Washington next week.
The United States looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister @Netanyahu & Blue & White Chairman @Gantzbe to the @WhiteHouse next week. Reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2020
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with the president on Tuesday, though Gantz’s schedule has yet to be announced.
US @VP then extended President Trump’s invitation to Netanyahu to go to the White House and ‘discuss the prospect of peace in the Holy Land’, adding that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz will join as suggested by Netanyahu pic.twitter.com/kRgv0j2Pak
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) January 23, 2020
As VP Pence noted, the meeting with the president comes at Netanyahu’s request. The two are long-time friends and close allies. Pence added that he invited Gantz at Netanyahu’s suggestion.
Netanyahu and Gantz have been at odds since national elections in April 2019 and then again in September failed to result in the formation of a coalition for either of the two leading parties; Likud under Netanyahu or Blue and White under Gantz. The third round of elections is planned on March 2.
The Trump peace plan referred to in the media as ‘the deal of the century’, is an Israeli–Palestinian peace proposal intended to resolve the conflict. In December 2017, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cut ties with the Trump administration after United States recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Trump administration and cut hundreds of millions of dollars in annual aid to the Palestinians, citing the PA’s refusal to take part in the administration’s peace initiative. Previous administrations have based negotiations on Palestinian pre-conditions that included a capital in Jerusalem, ethnically cleansing Judea and Samaria of all Jews, and granting Israeli citizenship to all descendants of Palestinian refugees.
Earlier this week, Channel 12 News correspondent Amit Segal reported what he believes the deal will (and will not) include. Segal predicted that under the deal, all of the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria will remain untouched with only about 15 will be surrounded by Palestinian territory. Other settlements will be connected to Israel by roads under Israeli jurisdiction. Israel would apply sovereignty to about 30% of all the land in Judea and Samaria. All of Jerusalem and its holy sites will remain as part of Israel’s capital. The Jordan Valley will remain under Israeli jurisdiction, and the Palestinians will have no border with countries other than Israel and Egypt in Gaza. The Palestinians are expected to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Israel would be required to recognize a Palestinian Arab state on the remaining 70% of Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Authority will be ceded some territory in the Negev to compensate for the land they relinquish in Judea and Samaria. A demilitarized Palestinian state will be declared if they accept the plan and its terms.
The Palestinian Authority would be required to accept four conditions to receive recognition as a state. The PA would have to recognize Israel as the Jewish State, recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, Hamas must disarm, and Gaza must be demilitarized.
Many pundits have suggested that even if Trump offers conditions that include the establishment of an ethnically cleansed, Arab-only Palestinian state inside Israeli borders, the Palestinian Authority will reject the deal. Indeed, PA President Mahmoud Abbas reacted negatively to the announcement that the plan is to be revealed.
“We warn Israel and the American administration against crossing the red lines,” Abbas said in a statement. “The Palestinian position supports ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories whose capital is East Jerusalem. If the U.S. publishes the ‘Deal of the Century’, the authority will take steps to protect its basic rights.”
On Thursday, Abbas met with Russian President Vladimir Putin who, ironically, was in Israel for a ceremony commemorating the Holocaust, an unsuccessful attempt at genocide that was supported by Haj al Amin Husseini, the founder of Palestinian nationalism. The meeting was held in Bethlehem.
“I welcome my dear friend, President Vladimir Putin, the President of the Federal Republic of Russia, my personal friend and the friend of the Palestinian people who never misses an opportunity to talk about or support the Palestinian cause, and this is what we are accustomed to,” Abbas said as he welcomed Putin, according to the Wafa news agency, reporting that the two discussed Trump’s proposed peace deal.
On Wednesday, Abbas met French President Emmanuel Macron in Ramallah and expressed hope that France will recognize a Palestinian state.