- Emphasis mine:
- Trump’s Mideast Peace Plan: Intimidate the Palestinians Into Surrender
by Jonah Shepp, http://nymag.com/
President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an ultimatum to the Palestinian Authority: Return to the negotiating table with Israel, or say good-bye to tens of millions of dollars in American aid to Palestinian refugees.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, following a meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (lest anyone remain unsure whose side he’s on), Trump lashed out at the Palestinian leadership for having “disrespected” the U.S. by snubbing Vice-President Mike Pence on his dubiously meaningful trip to the Holy Land last week and said, “That money is on the table and that money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”
Trump said his administration would soon release its plan for a peace deal, which he described as a “great proposal for Palestinians” that “covers a lot of the things we discussed over the years,” without giving any further details.
We’ll have to wait for this promised proposal to come out before we know just how Trump plans to make “the ultimate deal,” but considering that the Middle East portfolio is being managed by his son-in-law, a personal friend of the Netanyahu family who spent nine years at the helm of a foundation that funded the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, don’t be surprised if it looks an awful lot like something Netanyahu wrote up himself.
Unfortunately, the best offer Netanyahu wants to make the Palestinians entails no land swaps, no right of return for refugees, no real sovereignty, no capital in Jerusalem, and nothing more than a few disjointed cantons in the parts of the West Bank Israel doesn’t want for itself, all under perpetual Israeli military control — something he’s flatly described as a “state-minus.” Pretty much every element of this vision, which demands peace without offering any semblance of justice in return, is a nonstarter for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
In any case, if Trump’s idea of a peace plan resembles Netanyahu’s, it’s going nowhere fast. Then again, it might be even loonier: One member of Netanyahu’s cabinet said last year that Trump was interested in a proposal to give the Palestinians a state in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, rather than in historic Palestine itself. Netanyahu allegedly floated this idea to the Obama administration in 2014, though his office denies this.
Since peace talks broke down nearly four years ago, Netanyahu has repeatedly said he is ready to resume negotiations “without preconditions” — by which he means without holding Israel to any of the paper it has already signed over the past 25 years. When it comes to actually accepting a deal, however, Netanyahu has plenty of preconditions of his own, as Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar explained in Al-Monitor in October: