Trump 'deal of century' to forgo Palestine statehood: US paper
Iran Press TV
Mon Apr 15, 2019 09:25AM
Sources familiar with US President Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century" have warned that it will be void of any guarantees for a separate, fully sovereign state of Palestine, the Washington Post reports.
The unnamed sources told the paper that the proposal, which is expected to arrive soon, will only offer Palestinians some improvements in living conditions and nothing more.
The White House is poised to drop the much-anticipated package later this spring or by early summer, culminating over two years of efforts by Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
With officials on all sides tight-lipped about the terms of the offer, remarks from Kushner and other US officials have suggested that it does away with Palestinian statehood as a per-requisite for any agreement.
Instead, Trump's plan to purportedly end the decades-long conflict between Palestinians and Israelis more than anything focuses on Israel's security concerns, the report said.
"We believe we have a plan that is fair, realistic and implementable that will enable people to live better lives," a senior White House official told the Post on Friday.
"We looked at past efforts and solicited ideas from both sides and partners in the region with the recognition that what has been tried in the past has not worked. Thus, we have taken an unconventional approach founded on not hiding from reality, but instead speaking truth," added the official.
According to a new report by US news and information website Axios, King Abdullah II of Jordan said in a closed-door meeting with American lawmakers last month that the White House had given him zero information on how it proposes to divide the Palestinian territory.
According to the Post, the American head of state has told friends he would change traditional assumptions about ways to resolve the conflict.
However, the outcome would look nothing like his unorthodox personal diplomacy with North Korea and would rather be the product of Kushner, who became Trump's designated agent for all Middle East peace deals at the beginning of his presidency in 2017.
While with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Trump has tried to make peace through vague promises of economic growth and sanctions removal, Arab officials familiar with Kushner's sales pitches said he has offered no specific incentives to Palestinians.
What Kushner has offered are suggestions about economic opportunities for Palestinians in exchange for Israeli annexation of the West Bank and all other disputed territories.
Kushner and other US officials have indicated that peace and economic development for Palestine are intertwined with the Arab world's recognition of Israel and their acceptance of a Palestinian "autonomy" as opposed to a "sovereignty," sources said.
"What we've tried to do is figure out what is a realistic and what is a fair solution to the issues here in 2019 that can enable people to live better lives," Kushner said in an interview with Sky News Arabia as he sought Arab support on a visit to the region in February.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave away the most substantial hints at the deal's contents when he promised on the eve of his re-election last week that he will annex some settlements in the West Bank.
The package, according to the sources, is expected to pledge tens of billions of dollars in aid and investment in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the two areas with the most Palestinians, and billions more to Egypt and Jordan, the two Arab nations that have made peace with Israel.
Kushner stands little chance of success, analysts say, as European and some Arab leaders have already lost faith in his attempts.
A series of actions that Trump has taken in favor of Israel, including moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds after recognizing it as the Israeli regime's capital, have killed any hopes of a breakthrough.
Trump has also stirred anger by cutting annual aid to Palestine and shuttering the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington.
Those actions have alienated the Palestinian Authority, which has boycotted all negotiations with Washington.
Kushner and former Trump lawyer Jason D. Greenblatt, who would be the lead US negotiator for talks, have pleaded with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return to the table and seal the deal.
"To the PA: Our plan will greatly improve Palestinian lives & create something very different than what exists," Greenblatt wrote in a tweet last week. "It's a realistic plan to thrive/prosper even if it means compromises. It's not a 'sell out' – if the plan isn't realistic, no one can deliver it."
A chief adviser of Abbas said last week that while the Palestinian Authority viewed Americans as biased, they will not reject the Trump plan out of hand.
Ilan Goldenberg, the chief of staff to the lead US negotiator in the last failed attempt under former US President Barack Obama, said he still expects the package to be a nonstarter that would pave the way for annexation by forcing the Palestinians to reject the offer.
Former EU leaders reject no statehood deal
On Sunday, 37 high-ranking ex-officials of the European Union published a call for the European Union to reaffirm its commitment to a Palestinian statehood and reject any deal that fails to account for it.
"This cannot continue. For the Israelis, for the Palestinians or for us in Europe," the letter warned, adding that, "Failing to seize this opportunity, at a point in time when this order is unprecedentedly challenged, would have far-reaching negative consequences."
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