Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV published details on Monday from a reportedly leaked draft of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, or deal of the century, marking a second time this year unconfirmed documents have revealed plans to establish a demilitarized state of “New Palestine” alongside Israel.
The draft allegedly contains a series of clauses describing a trilateral agreement between Israel, the PLO and Hamas, which would constitute a departure from the U.S.’s longstanding position of refusing to negotiate directly with Hamas, the Islamic group governing the Gaza Strip.
According to the report, the state of New Palestine will exist in the West Bank and Gaza, connected via a raised highway constructed 30 meters off the ground. All Israeli settlement blocs would be annexed to Israel, signaling consistency with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement last month that “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”
The document notes, “The Jordan Valley,” which constitutes 30 percent of the West Bank, “will remain in Israeli hands, as it is today.” Israeli settlements and closed military zones account for 85 percent of the Jordan Valley.
Egypt will sell the state of New Palestine a swath its territory for the purpose of creating an industrial zone “without permitting the Palestinians to live there.” The draft said, “the size and price of land will be agreed upon between the parties by the supporting state, which will be defined later.”
Jerusalem would remain united, “it will be shared between Israel and New Palestine.” The Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, some 350,000 mostly residing in East Jerusalem, would become citizens of New Palestine. Israelis and Palestinians would no longer be able to purchase homes from one another, and “additional areas will not be annexed to Jerusalem, and the holy sites will remain as they are today.” A later clause in the draft would transfer stewardship of the Al Aqsa Mosque from Jordan to Saudi Arabia.
Israel would provide all services in Jerusalem to both Palestinians and Israelis with the exception of education for Palestinians. The government of New Palestine would pay Israel for these services along with additional fees for security. The Palestinian state would be prevented from forming an army or holding weapons, other than “police weapons.”
Palestinians would be allowed to use Israel’s airport for a period of five years, after which a Palestinian airport and seaport will be established at unspecified locations.
The draft deal calls for elections for the newly created Palestinian state, following all Palestinian prisoners would be released from Israeli detention facilities over a three-year term.
Hamas would seemingly be allowed to continue to exist as a political party locally, however, all weapons must be turned over to Egypt. According to Al Mayadeen’s reporting “Hamas men” would “receive monthly salaries from Arab countries,” although no contributing countries were named.
Earlier this year in May the Israeli outlet Yisrael Hayom published a similar document shared among officials in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that tracks closely to Al Mayadeen’s reported leak. Both copies show bullet points of the peace plan and further identify punitive measures for Israel and the Palestinians should either reject the deal, a line item that has not been included in any previous administration’s attempt to broker Middle East peace. This latest reporting of the plan again threatens to cut off U.S. aid to both Israel and the Palestinians, and warns countries providing aid to Palestinians, if the Trump plan is rejected.
Both documents state in the event the Palestinians do not accept the deal and there is another military confrontation between Palestinian factions and Israel, the U.S. will support Israel in “personally harming the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad” in a future escalation in Gaza.
“America will not accept that dozens only control the fate of millions of people,” both documents said.
Mondoweiss was not able to independently confirm the authenticity of the leaked draft of the deal from either Al Mayadeen or Yisrael Hayom.
Today the White House denied the veracity of Al Mayadeen’s reported leak. A senior official in the administration told the Times of Israel, “Rumors about the content of the Trump Administration peace plan are false,” adding, “We are confident that the so-called source has not seen the plan.”
Even so, the White House has attempted to secure funding for its peacemaking efforts this week by requesting $175 million from Congress—which was rejected by bipartisan lawmakers in the House. The budget was initially announced last March, three months before senior White House Advisor and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner released the economic component of the peace plan in Bahrain.
The administration and Palestinian negotiators severed communication in late 2017 after three rounds of high ranking talks between Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Speaking to his cabinet yesterday in Ramallah, Abbas said, “From day one we said no to the deal of the century, and we know the price of this no.”
The official release of the Trump administration plan has been delayed multiple times following Israel’s snap elections last fall. The plan is expected to be released after Israel conducts another election in early 2020.