White House Unveils Long-Awaited Middle East Peace Plan

January 28, 2020 by Dan McCue
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an event with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, to announce the Trump administration's much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan on Tuesday, earning applause from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite staunch opposition from Palestinians who say it falls short of what they had hoped.

The White House plan calls for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem while recognizing Israeli sovereignty over major settlements in the West Bank.

It also calls for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated.

Trump said he sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to tell him about the plan, which the president described as “the path to peace.”

“It’s going to work,” Trump said. “If they do this, it will work. Your response to this historic opportunity will show the world to what extent you are ready to lead the Palestinian people to statehood.”

Though the president calls the plan a “win-win” for both Israel and the Palestinians, Israel’s annexation of parts of the West Bank has long been a non-starter for Palestinians leaders.

Nevertheless, Trump said, the plan unveiled Tuesday is “a great deal” for them, one that he said will give the Palestinian people the time they need to meet the challenges of statehood.

Nearly two dozen protesters gathered about a block away from the White House in response to the announcement.

In the meantime, thousands of Palestinians protested in Gaza City, burning pictures of Trump and Netanyahu and raising a banner reading “Palestine is not for sale.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he planned to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the plan and invited officials of Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks Israel’s destruction.

The official Wafa news agency quoted Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh calling on Palestinian factions to set their differences aside and unite against the plan.

Meanwhile Netanyahu and his main political challenger in the March elections, Benny Gantz, had signed off on the plan.

“It’s a great plan for Israel. It’s a great plan for peace,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu’s spokesman, Jonathan Urich, later announced via Twitter that the Israeli leader will ask his Cabinet on Sunday to approve his plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

Netanyahu has been calling for annexing parts of the West Bank and imposing Israeli sovereignty on all its settlements ahead of the March 2 election. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, and the Jordan Valley in particular is considered a vital security asset.

Security responsibility for the Jordan Valley would remain in Israel’s hands for the foreseeable future but could be scaled back as the nascent Palestinian state builds its capacity, under the terms of the plan, which says that statehood will be contingent on the Palestinians meeting international governance criteria.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the plan’s release, said they expected negative responses from the Palestinians, as well as Turkey and Iran, but were hopeful that Jordan and Egypt, the only two Arab nations to have peace treaties with Israel, would not reject it outright.

The officials said they expected Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others to cautiously welcome the plan.

The Palestinians see the West Bank as the heartland of a future independent state and East Jerusalem as their capital. Most of the international community supports their position, but Trump has reversed decades of U.S. foreign policy by siding more blatantly with Israel.

The centerpiece of his strategy was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the American Embassy there. He’s also closed Palestinian diplomatic offices in Washington and cut funding to Palestinian aid programs.

The announcement of the peace plan brought a crush of Israeli news media to White House, filling the press room to capacity and adding an extra air of excitement to the proceedings.

None, however, were willing to say whether they believed a course toward peace was finally at hand.

In The News

Health

Voting

Geopolitics

Biden, Putin Discuss Ambassadors, Nuclear Weapons and More
Geopolitics
Biden, Putin Discuss Ambassadors, Nuclear Weapons and More

Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin of Russia spent more than three hours discussing issues Wednesday at their summit in Geneva. They ticked through their respective lists so quickly and in such "excruciating detail," Biden says, that they looked at each other and thought, "OK, what... Read More

'Two Great Powers': Biden, Putin Plunge Into Hours of Talks
Geopolitics
'Two Great Powers': Biden, Putin Plunge Into Hours of Talks

GENEVA (AP) — With stern expressions and polite words before the cameras, President Joe Biden and Russia's Vladimir Putin plunged into hours of face-to-face talks Wednesday at a lush lakeside Swiss mansion, a highly anticipated summit at a time when both leaders agree that relations between... Read More

Celebrations (and Questions) Greet US Vaccine Donation Plan
Health
Celebrations (and Questions) Greet US Vaccine Donation Plan

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — U.S. plans to donate 500 million more COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries were met Thursday with both celebration and hesitation amid questions over whether the effort will be enough to help poor regions desperate for doses. Some health officials and... Read More

Airstrikes Still a Possibility After Afghan Pullout
Defense
Airstrikes Still a Possibility After Afghan Pullout
June 10, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department may seek authorization to carry out airstrikes if the capital of Kabul or any other major city in Afghanistan is in danger of falling to the Taliban after the U.S. completes the withdrawal of its troops from the country in early... Read More

US to Donate 500M Doses of Pfizer Vaccine to Nations Still in Throes of Pandemic
Foreign Affairs
US to Donate 500M Doses of Pfizer Vaccine to Nations Still in Throes of Pandemic
June 10, 2021
by TWN Staff

The White House announced Thursday that the United States will purchase and donate half a billion Pfizer vaccines to 92 low- and lower middle-income countries and the African Union, a historic action intended to supercharge the global fight against the pandemic.  In a statement, the White... Read More

Senate Passes Bill to Boost US Tech Industry, Counter Rivals
Technology
Senate Passes Bill to Boost US Tech Industry, Counter Rivals

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Tuesday that aims to boost U.S. semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of growing international competition, most notably from China. The 68-32 vote for the bill demonstrates how confronting... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top