middle east peace plan
February 4, 2020

It's not just Palestine that's dissatisfied with the White House's Middle East peace plan unveiled last week. For wildly different reasons, some of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's supporters aren't happy with how things are shaping up, either, despite initially reacting positively to the proposal, The Washington Post reports.

White House adviser and President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has received a lot of the blame, particularly when it comes to the delay in annexation of Jewish settlements. David Elhayani, the leader of the Yesha Council, which oversees more than 150 Israeli settlements, said Kushner "took a knife and put it in Netanyahu's back" when Washington didn't follow through on a reported promise to allow Israel to declare sovereignty over 30 percent in the West Bank if Palestine didn't accept the plan within 48 hours.

In the end, Palestine flat out rejected the plan, but the U.S. urged patience when it came to annexation, with Kushner suggesting Israel wait to consider the motion until a new government is formed after next month's elections. But Elhayani thinks the annexation pause could actually cost Netanyahu an electoral victory. In that scenario, he said, the annexation plan he hopes to see would likely flounder in Israel's future parliament. Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

February 1, 2020

The foreign ministers of the 22 member states of the Arab League unanimously rejected the Trump administration's proposal to end the Israeli-Palestine conflict unveiled last week.

The resolution said the plan "does not satisfy the minimum of the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people." It's considered a win for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who threatened to cut security ties with Israel and the U.S. on Saturday, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization because it means the White House can't claim to have support from neighboring Arab countries.

To clarify, not every country condemned the plan. Some, like the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Morocco have suggested it could be the basis for future talks and applauded Washington's efforts, but they don't think the current iteration is viable.

The plan has been criticized in several circles, with many analysts arguing it does little to curb Israeli settlements in the West Bank — one of the main grievances held by Palestinians — and could increase tensions. Tim O'Donnell

January 28, 2020

White House adviser and President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner had some strong words for Palestinians on Tuesday.

Kushner, who played a central role in devising the Trump administration's Middle East peace plan unveiled earlier in the day, said during an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour that the proposal offers Palestinians the best chance for a "better life," suggesting it'd be a mistake for them not to accept the offer. If they don't, he said — while placing much of the blame on Palestinian leadership — they'll "screw up" yet another opportunity like they've always done.

Palestine's President Mahmoud Abbas already said he "categorically rejects" the plan, and protests broke out in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday, so Kushner's harsh comments don't seem like the best bet to defuse tensions at the moment. Still, he went on to defend the plan elsewhere, telling Bloomberg if Palestinians "truly want a state," they should "come to the table."

It's not just Palestinians who were disappointed in the White House's solution, though. Neighboring Jordan wasn't a fan, and several analysts felt it did little to curb Israeli settlement and annexation in the West Bank in the long run. Kushner, though, argued securing a four year freeze on Israeli settlements was the deal's biggest accomplishment. Tim O'Donnell

January 28, 2020

As anticipated, Palestine does not appear ready to sign on to President Trump's Middle East plan, which he presented Tuesday alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The plan was not considered to be a game-changer after it was revealed. Some experts predict it could even escalate tensions between Israel and Palestine because it does not curb Israeli settlements in the West Bank despite creating a Palestinian state in the region. So it's not a surprise to learn that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas resoundingly rejected what he described as a "nonsense" proposal.

Abbas said Palestine wouldn't "surrender," specifying Palestinians would resist the plan through "peaceful, popular means."

Protests reportedly broke out in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday, and a senior official for the militant group also rejected Trump's plan. Abbas reportedly met with leaders of other Palestinian factions, including Hamas, to come up with a response to the proposal. Read more at The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell

January 28, 2020

President Trump unveiled his administration's Middle East peace plan alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, just hours after Netanyahu was indicted on corruption charges.

The two leaders touted the two-state plan as a "win-win" for Israel and Palestine. Trump promised $50 billion in international aid to build up the Palestinian state, which would house its capital in East Jerusalem, leaving Israel in control of a unified Jerusalem. The White House included a perplexing-looking map of the proposed solution, complete with a tunnel connecting Gaza and the West Bank.

Many of the early reactions to the proposal were critical — analysts like Nicholas Burns, a Harvard professor and former U.S. diplomat, anticipate a rejection from the Palestinians and even an escalation of tensions between the two sides since it does little to curb Israeli settlements in the West Bank in the long run.

Neighboring Jordan warned against the "annexation of Palestinian lands" in response to the plan, as well. But it does have at least one potential fan. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly said that after speaking with Trump earlier in the day, he thinks it could help pave the way forward. Tim O'Donnell

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