The buzz surrounding President Trump’s “deal of the century” is reaching a fever pitch. With countless speculations as to what the plan will include and very little confirmation from the administration, not much is actually known about the elusive plan. What we do know, is Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, a staunch supporter of Israel and the Netanyahu government, plans to emphasize Israeli “security” and “economic opportunities” for Palestinians. With no mention so far of Palestinian sovereignty and statehood, we asked Palestinians in the West Bank what they think of the peace proposal and its impending release.
The Trump administration’s long-awaited plan peace for the Middle East is really a cover for Israel’s annexation of West Bank settlements, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Riyad Mansour said Tuesday. “Some in the administration, they think: ‘Yes, what will help peace is break the legs of the Palestinians, break one arm and five teeth, and when they are on the ground they will come crawling to you for anything you offer them’,” Mansour said. “Those who think that way don’t know the Palestinians.”
A leaked document of “main points” from the Trump administration’s so-called “deal of the century” was published today by Yisrael Hayom, outlining a plan for a two-state solution that includes the creation of a demilitarized state of “New Palestine,” Israeli annexation of all settlements in the West Bank, a land deal with Egypt, and shared capitals in Jerusalem.If either Israel or the Palestinians, including Hamas and the PLO, reject the deal, the document says the U.S. will impose steep penalties. The U.S. will cut off all aid to Israel and ensure “no country in the world transfers money” to the Palestinians, whose economy is reliant on foreign donors.If the PLO accepts the plan and Hamas or Islamic Jihad in Gaza reject it, the document warns “the U.S. will back Israel to personally harm leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad” in a future escalation, and will hold Hamas’ leadership “responsible in another round of violence between Israel and Hamas.”
On Thursday evening Jared Kushner avoided confirming if his plan, which has been kept secret, will include a Palestinian state but spoke at length about an “economic visions for the region” and a “business plan” to address “what’s been holding” Palestinians “back economically.”
“Their plan is to put us in a desert and offer us some drops of water so we are forced to accept it,” Palestinian leader Mohammed al-Masri says of the rumored content of Trump’s peace deal. “No power, no borders, and just give us some economic freedom.” Such a proposal will be dead on arrival, Palestinians say.
Jared Kushner explicitly ruled out a two-state solution for his peace plan. “If that would have worked, we would have made peace a long time ago on that basis.” His comments signal potential support for Israeli annexation of portions of the West Bank and Palestinian economic support but no sovereignty.
In the latest blow dealt by the American government to the Palestinians, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which was responsible for millions of dollars of aid projects in the occupied Palestinian territory, will be laying off some 85% of its local staff in the coming weeks. There has been speculation that the Trump administration ordered the job cuts as part of the lead up to unveiling its peace plan, which is set to be released in the coming months.