WASHINGTON (CN) – Indicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and impeached U.S. President Donald Trump announced Tuesday a plan for peace between Palestine and Israel that has already been rejected by Palestinian leaders.
Under the two-state solution plan, the Jewish state of Israel would retain Jerusalem — a city considered holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam — as its capital, while the Muslim state of Palestine would be established with its capital in part of east Jerusalem.
But Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Monday from the West Bank city of Ramallah that the Trump administration’s plan “doesn't constitute a basis for resolving the conflict.”
According to NPR, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Netanyahu and Trump’s announcement on Tuesday “a conspiracy aimed at undermining the rights of our Palestinian people and thwarting the establishment of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Trump said during Tuesday’s event in the East Room of the White House that the yet-to-be-released, 80-page peace plan would establish Jerusalem as part of Israel and put a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, where the U.S. would open an embassy.
It would also put a four-year freeze on new Israeli settlement activity on the West Bank and double Palestinian territory in the region.
Noting that both Netanyahu and his political rival in the country’s upcoming election, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, both endorse the plan fully, Trump called it “a win-win opportunity” for both Israel and Palestine.
“This is the first time Israel has authorized the release of a conceptual map illustrating the compromises they are willing to make,” he said, claiming the plan would end the cycle of Palestinian dependency on charity and foreign aid.
Netanyahu – who has been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases in Jerusalem District Court – called Trump “the greatest friend that Israel has ever had in the White House.”
He said he has agreed to negotiate peace with the Palestinians on the basis of the Trump administration plan.
“Thanks to you,” Netanyahu said to Trump, “these areas and so many others that for millennia have been etched in the soul of the Jewish people… will now be recognized in the United States as a permanent part of the Jewish state.”
Many onlookers criticized the plan, including Richard Haass, president of the nonprofit think tank Council on Foreign Relations.
“Middle East peace must be between two peoples, Israel & Palestinian, not between two people, @realDonaldTrump & @IsraeliPM,” he tweeted Tuesday. “Optics of two side-by-side at launch do not help plan’s prospects given its many pro-Israel aspects and that it was negotiated w/o Palestinians.”
Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., also voiced his opposition to the plan Tuesday, saying on Twitter it will set the Middle East peace process back for decades. The plan allows Israel to control all security matters inside the Palestinian state, making it not a state at all, he said.
“This plan was negotiated with no one but the Israelis, and thus it's not a peace plan at all,” Murphy continued. “Peace can only be achieved through agreement between Israel and the Palestinian people. By setting these new terms, it makes it harder for Israel to compromise later.”
Ken Roth, the executive director of the international nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch, similarly tweeted that Trump's one-sided plan only legitimized Israel's war-crime settlements.
“This latest ploy shows how the long-moribund ‘peace process’ has become a cover for Israel’s entrenched discriminatory rule over occupied Palestinians,” Roth said Tuesday.
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