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US Secretary of State Pompeo says Trump will unveil peace plan following Israeli elections

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the Trump administration will be renewing peace efforts in Israel and Palestine following the upcoming Israeli elections in April.

During a speech given via satellite at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, did not specify the measures the US would be taking, but said it “won’t be a US-driven process.”

“Ultimately, the Israelis and the Palestinians will have to come to an agreement. But we think that the foundations that we have laid and the work that we’ll do immediately following the Israeli elections will set conditions where we can have a constructive conversation,” Pompeo said.

“It seems to me that we’re at a point in time where there are ways that we can resolve the primary differences and encourage those two places, the Israelis and the Palestinians, to come together to resolve their differences and get a solution there that has bedeviled the world for an awfully long time,” he said.

Pompeo went on to say that “we’ve begun to share elements of this across the region,” and that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, and special representative Jason Greenblatt had been leading the development of the peace plan.

The day before Pompeo’s announcement at the forum, Greenblatt and senior PLO official Dr. Hanan Ashrawi were embroiled in a Twitter battle after Ashrawi said the US administration had “zero credibility.”

Greenblatt responded, saying “you may dislike our policies & decisions, but to say we have ‘zero credibility’ is simply not factual. @POTUS has kept his commitments, such as recognizing #Jerusalem as the capital of #Israel & moving our Embassy to #Jerusalem.”

Last week, Greenblatt took to Twitter to deny reports by Israel’s Channel 13 news report that claimed Trump’s plan proposes a Palestinian state in 85-90 percent of the West Bank, with the sovereign capital of Palestine located in “most of the Arab neighborhoods” of East Jerusalem.

According to the Channel 13 report, the Trump administration is expected to propose various land swaps, in which Israel would see its sovereignty extended to portion of the West Bank, in exchange for Palestinian-majority portions of Israeli territory.

Major settlement blocs would also reportedly be annexed to Israel, while smaller “isolated” –which are tend to be more nationalistic and violent towards Palestinians — would not be forcibly evacuated, but would also not be allowed to expand.

The report, citing “a senior American official” in the Trump administration, said the so-called “deal of the century” proposes that Jerusalem be divided, with Israel maintaining sovereignty in West Jerusalem, parts of East Jerusalem and the “holy basin,” including the Old City and its immediate environs.

It reportedly stipulated that the “holy basin,” home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Church of Holy Sepulchre, and other holy sites, would be “jointly run” by Israel,  Palestine, Jordan and “possibly other countries.”

“While I respect @BarakRavid, his report on Israel’s Ch. 13 is not accurate. Speculation about the content of the plan is not helpful. Very few people on the planet know what is in it… for now…,” Greenblatt said on Twitter on January 17th.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that the Trump administration, specifically Kushner, is hoping to roll out plans for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before the launch of the US 2020 presidential campaign.

“They expect the Israelis to come to the table swiftly, and hope the Palestinians will see merit in the plan with regional encouragement – but understand that certain elements are likely to aggravate both sides,” the Israeli news website said, citing anonymous senior US officials.

Trump has touted his “deal of the century” for years now, ever since he began campaigning for president.

While the exact details of the plan have remained elusive, save a few leaks and speculation from Israeli and international media, the Trump administration has slowly been ticking off most of the Israeli right’s wishlist, while pulling essential funding for agencies like UNRWA, USAID, and PA government funding in efforts to force the Palestinians to the negotiating table.

Given the Trump administration’s tactics in occupied Palestinian territory over the past year, which Palestinian officials have called “political blackmail,” many Palestinians anticipate the US plan will attempt to erase any Palestinian claims to Jerusalem, and force them to once again compromise their rights for the sake of Israel and the settlers.

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About Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is a multimedia journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. Follow her on Twitter at @yumna_patel

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13 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen
    January 23, 2019, 11:11 am

    “Greenblatt responded, saying “you may dislike our policies & decisions, but to say we have ‘zero credibility’ is simply not factual. @POTUS has kept his commitments, such as recognizing #Jerusalem as the capital of #Israel & moving our Embassy to Jerusalem.”
    What a staggering sheer obtuse response.

  2. Citizen
    Citizen
    January 23, 2019, 11:14 am

    Greenblatt is also on record saying, “The settlements are not obstacles to peace.”

    Can’t wait to see the new Ford Edsel unveiled.

  3. amigo
    amigo
    January 23, 2019, 12:02 pm

    “@POTUS has kept his commitments, such as recognizing #Jerusalem as the capital of #Israel & moving our Embassy to #Jerusalem.”” pompouseo

    correction !!.

    POTUS has kept his commitments to the zionists.He made none to the Palestinians so none to be broken.

    “During a speech given via satellite at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, did not specify the measures the US would be taking, but said it “won’t be a US-driven process.”

    Of course not.It will be an AIPAC driven process with Adelson,s foot on the pedal.

    It,s bad enough we have a maniac like trump with his finger on the button but add to that a, looney like Pompeo as Sec of State and a VP Christian fundamentalist fanatic , 2nd in command.

    Even zionists with self inflicted myopia should be concerned that end times may not be too far away.

  4. US Citizen
    US Citizen
    January 23, 2019, 4:28 pm

    Of course the israelis are going to rush to the table, this so called ‘peace plan’ favors them. The Palestinians should take note of the Democrats at this moment and say No !

    The isolated fanatical illegal settler squats will be allowed to stay but not expand? Oh hell no. israelis are free to carry deadly weapons with them wherever they go; non-Israelis are not for starters.

    Of course, no mention of security for the Palestinians from the illegal settler squats who will not stop their fanatical, messianic rampage. It should be made very clear that of course the illegal settler squats can stay and live in Palestine if they want to but they will be subject to Palestinians laws – up to and including home dispossession.

    Wait, all we will hear from the israelis is ‘security’ – Israelis deserve security, recognition, and a normal life free from terror and incitement. Palestinians should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity as well. Yes they do. Do not Palestinians deserve ‘security, recognition and a normal life free from terror and incitement too’?

    I think I’ll grab a bottle of wine, a bag of popcorn, a nice comfy chair and enjoy the sh*t show that is israel to come.

  5. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    January 23, 2019, 5:42 pm

    Any plan which deviates more than marginally from the Olmert Plan or from the Geneva Beilin Abed Rabbo plan will be rejected out of hand. If one is talking about an Israeli Palestinian peace accord it will have to be pretty darn close to one of those two plans for it to be taken seriously. (True Olmert never published his plan, but its outline seems to be widely known. as far as the Geneva so called accord: that plan is down to the finest detail, a thorough plan well known in detail.) For Trump’s team to reinvent the wheel that favors one side in a gross departure from the previously “negotiated” plan will not result in success. I don’t see how that can happen. I don’t know what further “pressure” Trump plans to place on the Palestinians.

    It would have been interesting if this plan would be released before the Israeli election. A farfetched idea, but it would have been interesting to see how the parties would run against each other to reject parts of the proposal. but after the election is hardly interesting at all. only in the context of the generally destructive nature of the trump presidency it is one more detail to worry about.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      January 23, 2019, 6:31 pm

      Doesn’t matter much, does it “WJ”? Whatever Trump decides to do, Israel and Zionists will have to go along. He owns you. Whatever Trump and his “team” work out, Israel will have to call success. Cause Trump badly needs one…

      Or can Israel simply go back to the Democrats now, for all the impunity, immunity and money it needs, no questions asked, no compromises demanded?

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        January 24, 2019, 10:11 am

        @Mooser

        However, thus far, Sheldon Adelson and his ilk “own” Trump.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 25, 2019, 2:24 pm

        ” Sheldon Adelson and his ilk “own” Trump.”

        Perhaps, but it looks to me more like that’s (Zionism and Israel) the one thing Trump actually does own. Israel sold itself to Trump, not the other way round. Just my view.

    • amigo
      amigo
      January 23, 2019, 6:48 pm

      Yonah Fredman aka Wondering Jew , why do you waste so much space describing a map that Olmert put together shortly before he was charged with corruption.

      Shorter yonah—-“The Napkin Map”.

      The nature of fake peace plans offered by people like you is one more detail to worry about.

      Olmerts peace plan was so genuine he refused to give a copy to Abbas.

      “Olmert met in mid-2008 with Mahmoud Abbas and showed him a map of the proposed swaps. Abbas was not allowed to keep a copy of the map, and so the 73-year-old Palestinian president had to sketch a copy by hand on a napkin.”

      https://www.aljazeera.com/palestinepapers/2011/01/2011122114239940577.html

      Do your homework if you wish to be taken seriously.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        January 24, 2019, 10:14 am

        @amigo

        Well and truly stated!!

  6. Kay24
    Kay24
    January 23, 2019, 10:32 pm

    Why does this not make feel hopeful, elated, and that it will all be a huge joke? The president who is already in the pockets of Adelson, and other zionists pretending to be Americans, whose son in law, Kushner, ( crooked Bibi’s good buddy), and family has sent lots of dollars towards the illegal settlements, and the president who gave over Jerusalem on a golden platter, is going to reveal a great Peace Plan (that no other president, or experienced diplomat, has ever been able to achieve), that will be fair, neutral, and help the true victims of this conflict, the Palestinians.

    They have lost their lands, water, rights, and their children have been killed unmercifully, and this rotten to the core president, is going be concerned about their well being, and make sure they get what is rightfully theirs? HOW MUCH MORE WILL TRUMP TAKE AWAY FROM THEM, OFFERING THEM NOTHING, TAKING AWAY EVERYTHING OFF THE TABLE, AND SIDING WITH THEIR OCCUPIER?

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      January 24, 2019, 4:15 am

      “Why does this not make feel hopeful”

      Because you know IABATO.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      January 24, 2019, 10:33 am

      @Kay24

      “HOW MUCH MORE WILL TRUMP TAKE AWAY FROM THEM, OFFERING THEM NOTHING, TAKING AWAY EVERYTHING OFF THE TABLE, AND SIDING WITH THEIR OCCUPIER?”

      Your question brings to mind the following just published article:

      https://www.arabamerica.com/starving-the-palestinians-to-come-to-the-israeli-peace-table-a-bad-strategy/

      “Starving the Palestinians to Come to the Israeli Peace Table: A Bad Strategy”
      Arab America, posted on: Jan 23, 2019
      By: John Mason/ Arab America Contributing Writer

      “A tactic of the Trump administration to withdraw U.S. funding for a United Nations program to help Palestinian refugees can only backfire. In summer of 2018, the U.S. State Department cut funding of $200 million for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to help about five million Palestinian refugees living in settlements in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The Guardian newspaper characterized this policy as ‘setting fire to the ground.’ The cut aims to drive the Palestinians to renew one-sided peace talks and to deny their right to return to lands they lost in 1948.

      “U.S. Withdrawal of Support for Palestinian Refugees
      “U.S. support for this impoverished population includes schools, feeding programs, healthcare, and social services. It is a critical piece of the Palestinian refugee lifeblood. The official justification for its reduction in funds is that it pays disproportionately more to UNRWA than other nations. An underlying, not-so-subtle reason is to force Palestinians to the Israeli peace table. The stakes are high for the Palestinians: do they get a state of their own equivalent to the Israeli state or do they remain a subservient population under the occupation of Israel and other nearby Arab states? Furthermore, it is the critical question of Arab sovereignty over its sector of that holiest of cities, Jerusalem.

      “The U.S. is the largest donor to UNRWA, accounting for almost a third of that agency’s annual budget. One interpretation of this reduction in funds is that the U.S. administration wants to delegitimize the refugee status of the Palestinians and their descendants. In this situation, Palestinians would not have the right to return to their confiscated lands, much less to demand compensation for those lands; a demand for the right to their portion of Jerusalem; and return to the borders of 1967.

      “Another hidden rationale for U.S. reduction of support for Palestinian refugees is to diminish their status as claimants to an Arab presence in Jerusalem. The U.S. administration’s move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem confirmed its recognition of Israel’s claim to that city as its capital. Its effect is was to diminish the legitimate Arab right to its share of Jerusalem as a key religious site.

      “So-Called U.S. ‘Transactional’ Foreign Policy
      “The idea here is that the Trump administration wants to use leverage in moving people with whom the U.S. is in negotiation to his point of view. Thus, paraphrased: ‘starve the Palestinians and they will eventually come to the table and agree to our (the U.S. and Israeli) idea of an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.’ In contrast, recently-resigned U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Niki Haley, said she believed that the ‘right of return’ of Palestinians to their lands needed to be considered in any negotiations. She has since left the government.

      “However, the Trump administration has perceived that Palestinians have expressed hostility towards the U.S. This is a correct perception, given the totally pro-Israeli-Anti-Palestinian stance of the administration.

      “The Trump administration knows well that the U.S. contribution to UNRWA is a critical lifeline to the Palestinians living in refugee settlements in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. UNRWA gives assistance to approximately five million refugees. Some of these refugee settlements or camps have existed almost since the time of Israel’s founding in 1948. The inhabitants live in what can safely be called a state of guaranteed poverty, but the U.N. aid nevertheless has consistently provided the children with basic services of schooling, shelter, food, water and sanitation, and certain medical care.
      Pain and Suffering of Palestinian Refugees and Possible Greater Conflict in the Middle East

      “Some Palestinians have suggested that the U.S. aid-cut to the U.N. is a ‘death sentence’ to their people. While such countries as Germany, Japan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia have upped their donations to try to fill the gap, there is a chance that the entire infrastructure of the Palestinian settlements could come crashing down. This could lead to the harm of millions of innocents and, more catastrophically, to further conflict and destabilization in the Middle East. At the same time, the security of Israel itself could be undermined.

      “The Trump administration’s end to funding of Palestinian refugees is a way of wishing away their status as refugees. Most such refugees, through the support of UNRWA, were born in a tent, raised in a camp, and clothed, fed, and schooled. This scenario has gone on for generations, now for over 70 years. Trump administration’s criticism of UNRWA perpetuates the status of refugees, thus increasing their numbers from an original base of around 700,000 in 1948 to about 5 million today. Israelis see this population number, many of whom claim the right to return to their ancestral home, as a threat to the ‘Jewish character’ of their country.

      “Israel Sees Defunding of UNRWA as a ‘Step for Peace’
      “The Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, goes as far as to say that UNRWA should be scrapped because of its creation of ‘fictitious refugees.’ Furthermore, Netanyahu has stated that the narrative of the right of return would only lead to the elimination of the state of Israel.

      “Contributing to the political character of the Trump administration’s attempt to eliminate UNRWA was Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s statement that this agency was ‘not conducive to peace.’

      “The safety, health, and welfare of millions of Palestinians who are living in refugee settlements are being played by the Trump administration and the government of Israel in a cruel game of geopolitics. These refugees are pawns, sometimes used by Palestinian leaders who employ them in their quest for a state of their own. Worse, however, is the dismissal of the refugees by Israeli politicians and the Trump administration’s complicity in this effort.

      “By ‘disappearing’ the Palestinians, these politicians deny the existence and humanity of the refugees. More so, they believe that in omitting the refugees from the equation of the Arab-Israeli peace process, they can justify their contention that the only possible way to resolve the issue is a one-state versus a two-state solution. Such a short-run solution will never hold up morally, ethically, demographically, much less legally–in the long run.”

      (References: The Guardian, August 2018; The Washington Post, August 31, 2018; Al-Jazeera, September 2, 2018; and The Jerusalem Post, September 1, 2018)

      John Mason, an anthropologist specializing in Arab culture and its diverse populations, is the author of recently-published LEFT-HANDED IN AN ISLAMIC WORLD: An Anthropologist’s Journey into the Middle East, 2017, New Academia Publishing.
      _____________________________________________________________________

      A reminder:
      “Congressional Research Service, U.S. Foreign aid to Israel, Jeremy M. Sharpe, Specialist in Middle East Affairs, April 10, 2018.”

      “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $134.7 billion (current, or non inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance. At a signing ceremony at the State Department on September 14, 2016, representatives of the U.S. and Israeli governments signed a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid covering FY2019 to FY2028. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States pledges to provide $38 billion in military aid ($33 billion in Foreign Military Financing grants plus $5 billion in missile defense appropriations) to Israel. This MOU replaces a previous $30 billion 10-year agreement, which runs through FY2018.”

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