President Donald Trump announced his Middle East peace plan that he calls a “win-win” for both Israelis and Palestinians on Tuesday.
With Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu at his side in the East Room of the White House, and evangelical leaders looking on, Trump said the plan is significantly different from past failed efforts.
The president emphasized what the plan means for both sides.
For Israel, the president said that Jerusalem will remain its undivided capital and that security will remain paramount.
“We will not allow a return to the days of bloodshed, bus bombings, nightclub attacks, and relentless terror,” Trump said. “It won’t be allowed. Peace requires compromise, but we will never ask Israel to compromise its security. Can’t do that.”
For the Palestinians, the president said the plan will double their territory and put their capital in east Jerusalem. He said the plan’s vision will encourage $50 billion in commercial investment by US allies to the Palestinians.
“Over the next 10 years if executed well, one million new Palestinian jobs will be created,” the president noted. “Their poverty rate will be cut in half and their poverty rate is unacceptable. Their GDP will double and triple.
The plan more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control, and it even provides a means of connecting the two Palestinian-held areas of Gaza and the West Bank.
It also recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank. And it calls for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, and the Jordan Valley, in particular, is considered a vital security asset.
Security responsibility for the Jordan Valley would remain in Israel’s hands for the foreseeable future but could be scaled back as the nascent Palestinian state builds its capacity, under the terms of the plan, which says that statehood will be contingent on the Palestinians meeting international governance criteria
Under the terms of the “peace vision” that Trump’s son-in-law, senior adviser Jared Kushner, has been working on for nearly three years, the future Palestinian state would consist of the West Bank and Gaza, connected by a combination of above-ground roads and tunnels.
Netanyahu and his main political challenger in March elections, Benny Gantz, have signed off on the plan.
Netanyahu said he would move forward on Sunday and ask his Cabinet to approve plans to annex West Bank territory.