President Trump's peace plan delights Israelis, enrages Palestinians
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Mideast peace plan Tuesday alongside a beaming Benjamin Netanyahu, presenting a vision that matched the Israeli leader's hard-line, nationalist views while falling far short of Palestinian ambitions.
Trump's plan envisions a disjointed Palestinian state that turns over key parts of the West Bank to Israel. It sides with Israel on key contentious issues that have bedeviled past peace efforts, including borders and the status of Jerusalem and Jewish settlements, and attaches nearly impossible conditions for granting the Palestinians their hoped-for state.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the plan as "nonsense" and vowed to resist it. Netanyahu called it a "historic breakthrough" equal in significance to the country's declaration of independence in 1948.
"It's a great plan for Israel. It's a great plan for peace," he said.
Given the Palestinian opposition, the plan seems unlikely to lead to any significant breakthrough. But it could give a powerful boost to both Trump and Netanyahu who are both facing legal problems ahead of tough elections.
Trump called his plan a "win-win" for both Israel and the Palestinians, and urged the Palestinians not to miss their opportunity for independence. But Abbas, who accuses the U.S. of unfair bias toward Israel, rejected it out of hand.
"We say 1,000 no's to the Deal of the Century," Abbas said, using a nickname for Trump's proposal.
"We will not kneel and we will not surrender," he said, adding that the Palestinians would resist the plan through "peaceful, popular means."
The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war — for an independent state and the removal of many of the more than 700,000 Israeli settlers from these areas.
But as details emerged, it became clear that the plan sides heavily with Netanyahu's hard-line nationalist vision for the region and shunts aside many of the Palestinians' core demands.
Under the terms of the "peace vision" that Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working on for nearly three years, all settlers would remain in place, and Israel would retain sovereignty over all of its settlements as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.
"The Israeli military will continue to control the entire territory," Netanyahu said. "No one will be uprooted from their home."
The proposed Palestinian state would also include more than a dozen Israeli "enclaves" with the entity's borders monitored by Israel. It would be demilitarized and give Israel overall security control. In addition, the areas of east Jerusalem offered to the Palestinians consist of poor, crowded neighborhoods located behind a hulking concrete separation barrier.