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Policy Summary:

On January 28th the US government unveiled its long awaited Middle Eastern “Peace Plan” by Jared Kushner. The plan would permit Israel to annex all its illegal settlements and the Jordan Valley. The Palestinian government is striving for an independent state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, areas currently under Israeli control. The peace plan, announced by Jared Kushner, would permit Israel to maintain such territories as the West Bank, the Jordan Valley, and Jerusalem. This would allow nearly 700,000 Israeli settlers to remain on lands captured by Israel; settlements the UN has deemed illegal. The plan would further permit Israeli authority over the currently divided Jerusalem, pushing the Palestinians to establish the capital of a new Palestinian state in a poor neighborhood in east Jerusalem, and cutting it off from the city by a concrete separation barrier. This new Palestinian state would be demilitarized and left under the significant security control of Israel.

Policy Analysis:

The “peace deal” was authored by White House adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law. Critics are claiming Trump’s plan is the antithesis of a peace plan as well as the timing of its release being of great question. The proposal was unveiled just hours after Netanyahu was formally indicted on corruption charges in Israel and also during the second week of an impeachment trial against Trump in the U.S. Senate. Following the announcement, the Plan was met with protests and denunciation by Palestinians.

To date, 94% of Palestinians reject Trump’s plan. Palestinian political leadership pressed the international community to reject the Trump administration’s plan. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said of the deal, “nothing but a plan to finish off the Palestinian cause.  “This is a plan to protect Trump from impeachment and protect Netanyahu from prison. It is not a Middle East peace plan. We reject it and we demand the international community not be a partner.” After the announcement of the peace plan, Kushner blamed Palestine’s President, Mahmoud Abbas, for the escalation in violence occurring in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Kushner claimed President Abbas “calls for days of rage in response and (Abbas) said that even before he saw the plan.”

On February 7th, over 100 House Democrats signed a letter, renouncing President Trump’s Middle East peace plan. The letter addressed to the President claimed it would “hurt Israelis and Palestinians alike, pushing them toward further conflict.” The open letter, spearheaded by Democratic Representatives Alan Lowenthal of California and Andy Levin of Michigan, warned that Trump’s plan “paves the way for a permanent occupation of the West Bank. It does not have our support, and the Israeli government must not take it as license to violate International law by annexing all or portions of the West Bank.”

Trump’s Peace Plan is not only impacting Israel and Palestine. On February 6th, the Tunisian government fired their ambassador to the United Nations, Moncef Baati. Baati was accused of “leading diplomatic negotiations on a Palestinian draft Security Resolution declaring U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan in breach of international law, according to three diplomats”, according to the Foreign Press. A foreign ministry statement expressed the government’s explanation for the dismissal of Baati, “Tunisia’s ambassador to the United Nations has been dismissed for purely professional reasons concerning his weak performance and lack of coordination with the ministry on important matters under discussion at the UN.” However according to three diplomats, Baati had allegedly  been heading “diplomatic negotiations on a Palestinian draft Security Resolution declaring US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan in breach of international law,” reported by Foreign Policy. However, the Tunisian President Kais Saied’s choice to fire Baati seems to have backfired. President Saied’s methods were called into question over the dismissal of Tunis’ UN envoy. “The manner in which the dismissal was carried out raises many questions around the diplomatic strategy of the presidency” said political commentator Youssef Cherif.

Engagement Resources:

  • Alliance for Middle East Peace envision a Middle East in which Israelis and Palestinians have built the trust necessary to live in peace and security, prospering in societies that protect their human and civil rights. The group secures and scales up funding to expand trust-building interactions between Palestinians and Israelis.
  • A Land for All is a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization that strives to promote a new paradigm for solving the conflict based on trust and partnership rather than separation. The solution derives from the confederation model and suggest two independent states within the 1967 borders in a way that will meet the desire of the two peoples for self-determination alongside freedom of movement and residence in the entire area between the Jordan River and the sea.
  • Arab-Jewish Community Center, Jaffa, fosters better understanding, tolerance, and democratic values among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim populations in Jaffa while preserving ethnic, religious and national identities. The Center provides the community with a wide variety of programs, ranging from social welfare and assistance to families in need, to educational programs, empowerment initiatives, multi-cultural events and celebrations.
  • MEPEACE is a non-profit organization, which aims to foster a growing community of peacemakers. Its peacemakers, from 175 countries, are committed to realizing peace in the Middle East through online and on the ground efforts.

This brief was compiled by Erin Mayer. This brief was compiled by Erin Mayer. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact ErinMayer@USResistnews.org

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