In Brief

Reaction: can Donald Trump’s Middle East plan work?

Israel welcomes proposal but Palestinians give it ‘a thousand noes’

US President Donald Trump has proposed a Middle East plan that he claimed was a “realistic two-state solution” but panders to nearly every major Israeli demand and was immediately rejected by Palestinians.

The plan allows Israel to begin annexing all of its settlements in the West Bank with US backing and anticipates the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state with limited sovereignty after a transition period.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said Jerusalem “will remain Israel's undivided capital,” but claimed that a future Palestinian state would also have a “capital in eastern Jerusalem”. 

Standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said his proposals “could be the last opportunity” for Palestinians.

However, the Palestinians were not present at the announcement. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has dismissed the plans as a “conspiracy” and given the proposal “a thousand noes”.

“I say to Trump and Netanyahu: Jerusalem is not for sale, all our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain. And your deal, the conspiracy, will not pass,” he said.

The ruling Hamas group in Gaza called Trump's statement “aggressive” and said the Jerusalem plan was “nonsense”.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, and the UAE have released statements welcoming the Trump administration's peace plan.

The Jerusalem Post says the plan is “a seal of approval for Netanyahu’s longtime vision”. Another Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, says Palestinians “must refuse to engage with these fictional negotiations,” describing the plan as a “recipe for war, not peace”.

Referring to Trump’s offer of $50bn investment to launch the Palestinians’ new state, including a high-speed rail link between Gaza and the West Bank, The Times says the proposal “offers $50bn for Palestinians to give up Jerusalem”.

CNN says the plan is “another example of the real estate school of diplomacy that [Jared Kushner] and his father-in-law — both property magnates — keep trying to apply to the most nettlesome global disputes”.

Jeremy Bowen of the BBC says Palestinians will become “afflicted by more anger, despair and hopelessness,” adding: “In a combustible part of the world, that is dangerous. The Trump plan is a gamble.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he welcomed the plan, adding “only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent”.

However, The Guardian, wonders where Israel’s neighbours are among Trump’s proposals. “All that's missing from Trump's Middle East plan is Palestinians,” says The Guardian.

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