Peace in the Middle East
Is the cook ready?
After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins the Israeli general elections on April 9, the administration of US President Donald Trump is expected to announce its peace plan in the Middle East known to the media as "Century DealDespite the many leaks related to the plan, ambiguity is still shrouded in every aspect, especially the extent of acceptance by the parties concerned of it and the possibility of passing it in the region in light of the current conditions.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has been working since its inauguration in 2017 to prepare a peace plan in the Middle East to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, and it was determined to present it officially in early 2018, but this was postponed several times due to the lack of appropriate conditions, and Jared Kushner, President Trump's advisor, confirmed that the plan will be announced After the formation of a coalition government in Israel and "after the end of the month of Ramadan in early June."
According to Fox News, the US peace project document contains between 175 and 200 pages, and there are fewer than five people who can access the entire document, and many of its contents are circulated in the media and some parties concerned are in the form of leaks that have not been confirmed.
A new project on the ruins of old solutions
Since 1947, I presented many regional and international decisions and initiatives to solve the Arab-Zionist conflict, affected by historical events and the results of the Arab-Israeli wars and the fluctuations in the international situation, but most of these decisions and solutions were clashed with an Israeli intransigence backed by an American bias to Tel Aviv and the following video shows the most prominent of these solutions and their consequences.
Suggested solutions to the Palestinian issue since 1947
Israeli plan .. projects and backgrounds
The leak of the "Deal of the Century" seems to be very similar to what was suggested by former Israeli National Security Adviser Giora Eiland in a study he published in 2010 entitled "Regional Alternatives to a Two-State Idea for Two Peoples".
The deal also takes parts of a plan put forward by Avigdor Lieberman – former head of the "Israel Our Home" and former Minister of Foreign and Defense – known as the "manned land exchange" plan, and another plan put forward by Israel Kats, acting foreign minister and transport and intelligence minister.
The project also takes ideas from an expanded study presented by the former President of the Hebrew University, Professor Yoshua Ben Arieh in 2003, which was collected under the title of "a triple land swap plan"; all of these projects are based on the idea of settling the Palestinians on a third land.
In July 2018, Israeli journalist Shaul Arieli – in an article in the Haaretz newspaper, commenting on leaks of the plan – indicated that it is just an Israeli package of ideas prepared by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to be presented in an American suit.
– A demilitarized and Palestinian state will be established, with limited borders, the Gaza Strip, Areas A and B, and parts of Area C in the West Bank (between 85% and 90% according to a report by Israeli Channel 13 in January 2019). Gaza in the new Palestinian state, provided Hamas agrees to disarm.
Details of the plan
– Israel maintains security responsibility for most of the West Bank and all border crossings.
– The Jordan Valley remains under Israeli sovereignty and military control.
– Abu Dis is the proposed capital of Palestine.
– The plan does not address the issue of Palestinian refugees, but a compensation and management mechanism will be established by the international community. The end of Washington's support for UNRWA – as a specialized international agency – indicates its intention to absent the refugee issue.
– The recognition of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, and Palestine, with limited sovereignty, is the homeland of the Palestinians.
In the absence of official documents or statements, the provisions of the US plan remain within the speculation and guesses inspired by many leaks during the past two years, and the reactions of American officials ranged from them to refutation at times and silence often.
Through these leaks published by the American, British and Israeli newspapers, unofficial statements by Western and Israeli officials, and reports of intelligence sites, including the Israeli "Debka" website; broad lines appear in all these leaks, the most important of which are:
– The plan divides the settlements into three groups: the first are the major settlement blocs and Israel will annex them, the second is the remote settlements that will not be allowed to expand, and the third is the informal settlements that will have to be dismantled and evacuated.
– The 12 Jewish settlements and neighborhoods that were established after 67 in the Jerusalem areas, and where more than 220,000 Jews live, will remain in the hands of Israel and under its sovereignty.
– The Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem join the Palestinian state, with the exception of the Old City, which will be part of "Israeli Jerusalem" that Trump has declared the capital of Israel and the transfer of the American embassy to it.
Plan items .. Projects and backgrounds
West Bank and the Oslo agreement divisions
– The plan maintains Israeli sovereignty over large parts of Jerusalem, and includes the Old City and the Holy Basin, part of Silwan, the Mount of Olives, Wadi Joz, Sheikh Jarrah, and Mount Scopus.
– The western wall of Al-Aqsa (Al-Buraq Wall) remains exclusively in Israel's hands, including the underground route to it.
– Palestine and Jordan will share religious responsibility for the Islamic holy sites in the city of Jerusalem.
– With regard to the old city of Jerusalem, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the plan is to create a corridor from the new Palestinian state to the old Jerusalem to cross there to perform the prayers, according to DEPCA.
– The deal says that the Palestinians must build "new Jerusalem" on the lands of villages and population centers near the city, according to what was published by the "DEBKA" website.
Jerusalem is at the heart of the US peace plan
– According to "Israel Today" newspaper, the plan stipulates that the Palestinian state will be located on about 85% of the West Bank lands, and that Arab neighborhoods in southern Jerusalem, such as Jabal Al-Mukaber, Arab Al-Sawahra, Umm Laysoun, Umm Tuba and possibly Tire Bahir, will be transferred according to the plan to sovereignty Palestinian.
– Palestinians give up approximately 12% of the West Bank to Israel, to ensure existing and new settlements.
– The deal requires that the security file and the border remain in Israel's hands.
– Postponing the decision on returning the refugees to the final status.
– According to the American New York Times, the Century deal considers that the number of Palestinian refugees ranges between 30 and 60,000 only, and they will be resettled in the Palestinian self-rule areas in the West Bank or Gaza Strip if they want to.
– According to the newspaper, a fund will be set up to compensate the descendants of those who "had" to leave their villages, towns and cities during the 1948 war, without classifying them as refugees.
– Resettle 60% of the Palestinian refugees in the places where they are in the Arab world, with the commitment of Western countries (Europe and the United States) to provide significant financial aid from them, especially to Lebanon and Jordan.
– The plan indicates that the refugee issue will be resolved through the payment of a grant for stability in the country of asylum or resettlement in another country.
– The New York Times reported that the Century deal would include investing $ 25 billion in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the next ten years, in addition to that the US government will invest forty billion dollars in Jordan, and perhaps in Egypt and Lebanon.
– Donor countries give the Palestinians financial assistance to establish an international airport and sea port in Gaza, in addition to housing and agricultural projects, industrial cities and electric power plants.
Other items: promises and interests
– The British journalist and writer, "Vicky Ward" revealed in her book "The Kushner Company … Greed, Ambition and Corruption", that the century deal includes the exchange of lands, as Jordan grants lands to the Palestinians to obtain lands from Saudi Arabia that will in return receive the islands of Tiran and Sanafir from Egypt.
– Egypt assigns 720 square kilometers of Sinai rectangularly on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the length of the first side 24 km from Rafah in the west to the borders of Al-Arish, and the second side 30 km from Karm Abu Salem to the border, approximately twice more than the area of Gaza.
– Egypt acquires land southwest of the Negev for 720 square kilometers.
– Egypt obtains a land link through which Israel allows to build a huge tunnel with American, European and Arab assistance, with a length of ten kilometers under the water, from a point off Eilat from the Egyptian side to an area on the Jordanian-Saudi border, and to extend a railway line inside this tunnel and a pipeline managed by Cairo.
– Israel agreed to make limited amendments to the military supplement to the Camp David agreement (clause directed to Egyptian public opinion).
– In its April 14 issue, the Washington Post reported, citing unidentified officials, that the "deal of the century", focused mainly on improving the economic conditions of the Palestinians and did not include the establishment of a separate, fully sovereign Palestinian state.
The American Peace Project … the parties involved and the prospects
New leaks revealed amendments to the plan for Egypt, as Egyptian facilities are being offered in the situation in Rafah, Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuwayed instead of annexing parts of it to Gaza – as in the first plan in the deal – and the facilities include joint working mechanisms in this region of the Egyptian border that guarantee entry and exit of the Palestinians, Establishing industrial projects for them according to Egyptian laws, with the possibility of granting them citizenship according to specific and accessible procedures. Cairo, in return, gets about $ 65 billion in financial payments and projects in North Sinai.
– For Jordan, the US plan offers to settle about one million Palestinian refugees in installments, with Amman receiving about $ 45 billion in projects and financial aid, while other sources indicated that the amount is greater than that.
– According to leaks published by Israeli and Arab newspapers, the US plan refers to a "formula that is agreed upon" for Lebanon, in which coordination is done with some countries to absorb or resettle their refugees in order to completely end the file, on the basis of not asking them to return to occupied Palestine in the future.
The godfathers of the project
A young American businessman, born in 1981 to a Jewish family and raised his wealth from real estate, is the son-in-law of US President Donald Trump who appointed him to the position of senior adviser to the White House.
He has good relations with political officials in Israel and with the American Committee for Israeli Public Affairs, known simply as "AIPAC," and he is primarily responsible for formulating and managing what is known as the Century Deal.
Born in 1967, he is a US attorney and special envoy for the Middle East peace process, and was Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Donald Trump and his adviser on Israel.
In January 2017, Greenblatt was appointed as Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations by President Donald Trump, one of the authors of the Deal of the Century or the so-called Trump Middle East peace plan.
A right-wing American lawyer who is enthusiastic about settlement, and a close friend of US President Donald Trump who appointed him as the US ambassador to Israel. He strongly supported the transfer of his country's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and participated in setting up perceptions of the so-called deal of the century, and he opposed any political settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on a two-state solution.
The early stages of the plan
February 21, 2016: A meeting in Jordanian Aqaba, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah II, in the presence of the then US Secretary of State John Kerry, touched on a major initiative to reach an agreement that includes recognition of Israel.
April 2016: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Cairo to discuss a peace initiative, according to Ha'aretz.
April 2017: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi confirms during his meeting with President Donald Trump that "peace between Israel and Palestine will be the deal of the century."
September 10, 2017: President Donald Trump announced the closure of Palestinian Authority offices in Washington.
October 2017: Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt visit Saudi Arabia secretly, inform Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the deal of the century, and ask for help in persuading Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the plan, according to the American “Politico” newspaper confirmed that it is Kushner's third secret visit to the Kingdom.
November 2017: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Mahmoud Abbas to brief him on the proposal, and asked him to accept the plan and to be positive in dealing with it.
December 6, 2017: US President Donald Trump has announced recognition of occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and his intention to move his country's embassy to it, which triggered a Palestinian, Arab and international uprising.
January 4, 2018: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the century deal was "over," stressing that there was nothing to negotiate after America announced that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.
May 6, 2018: US President Donald Trump announced the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem, and officially began operating in Jerusalem on May 14.
August 31, 2018: Washington has suspended its funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), indicating that it is seeking to end the refugee file.
The American plan through Riyadh
After a series of public and secret visits to Saudi Arabia since mid-2017, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appeared as a partner to Jared Kushner in preparing the American plan, especially after the disclosure of his demanding position to urge Israel to live in peace with the Palestinians.
While conceptualizing the project, Donald Trump and Jared Kushner considered that its passage did not take place without effective Saudi participation, which made Kushner make several secret and public visits to Riyadh and meet Muhammad bin Salman during his trips to pass the deal, and in return, King Salman showed in his statements a commitment to the Arabness of Jerusalem and support Palestinian right.
The American plan .. Saudi cover and the role of bin Salman
Kushner tours and the crisis plan
They said about the American plan
With the continuous postponement of the announcement of the American plan, and almost all parties – especially the Palestinian side – rejecting its leaks, many questions related to Trump's peace plan, its motives, consequences, and chances of success are looking for an answer. These questions are especially important after Trump announced his country's recognition of Israel's sovereignty of the Syrian Golan Heights on March 25, 2019.
The director of Bloomberg’s office in the United States in Saudi Arabia, Glenn Curry, believes that Trump’s decision may have caused the prenatal death of the American plan, which Washington tried to mobilize Arab support in the hard-won.
In addition to the anger over Trump's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and to stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the decision on the Golan will lose the US president, his Arab allies, who depend on him to support his peace plan in reference to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, according to Carey.
Paul Sullivan, an expert on Middle East affairs at the Georgetown Center for Security Studies, believes that a strike against Arabs of this magnitude will not cause them to approach the negotiating table.
For his part, Michael Stephens, a researcher in Middle East studies at the Royal Institute for United Services in Britain, confirms that there is only one basic fact is that if the Palestinians do not agree to the plan, Mohammed bin Salman will not be able to accept it or pass it on their behalf.
The Jordanian refusal to resettle and the alternative homeland comes to consider Jerusalem a red line and affirmation of the two-state solution and the lines of the fourth of June 1967, as well as the decisions of the final statement of the 30th Arab League summit in Tunis to end the Israeli occupation, and rejected the American decision on the Golan as preludes to the collapse of the plan or postponing its announcement again.
Jerusalem .. the Golan and questions of fate
Washington Plan: Chances of success and signs of failure