Report: US peace plan divides Jerusalem, keeps Israeli settlement blocs
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said that the plan tilts toward Israel and is unacceptable to the Palestinians.
Two days after EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini warned the US against taking false steps on the peace process, the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat report Wednesday that the plan Washington is hammering out calls for a demilitarized Palestinian state with limited sovereignty and borders that do not match the 1967 lines.
According to the Saudi paper published in London, the Arab states are unhappy with the framework and are trying to change it before it is presented.
The Trump administration swiftly dismissed the report. Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman, said the peace team would continue working on its “real plan” and encouraged regional leaders to dismiss rumors in their press.
““It is unfortunate that some parties are seeking to prejudice people against our unfinished plan, which these sources have not seen,” Raffel stated. “Nobody should be basing their reaction, public or private, on these reports.”
US allies– including France, Britain and Saudi Arabia, where the sourcing for this report allegedly originates– have not been briefed on details of the plan, and thus are not in a position to confirm or deny its contents with authority. But some educated guesses on specific proposals may ultimately land closer to truth than fiction, given the contours of the conflict are so well-known.
“This is a mix of possibilities and ideas, some of which have existed for decades,” a senior US official said. “We are going to continue working on the plan that is designed to benefit both Israelis and Palestinians and will release it when it is done and the time is right.”
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki and foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco met earlier this week in Brussels with Mogherini and the 28 EU foreign ministers and said that the plan tilts toward Israel and is unacceptable to the Palestinians.
The report stated that the Arab foreign ministers asked the EU to immediately engage with the US and get them to change the parameters of the plan before it is presented, because it will be much more difficult to do so afterward.
On Monday, after meeting with the Arab foreign ministers, Mogherini said that the EU and Arab League ministers “have dealt with the conflict long enough around our common table to know what can fly and what cannot fly, and we believe it is wise to consider what can fly and cannot fly in terms of peace plans before putting any plans on the table and avoiding any false steps, Because given the region, any false step can be very dangerous.”
The Asharq al-Awsat report, based on Arab diplomatic sources in Paris, said that the US intends to present the plan at an international conference to be held in an Arab capital, likely Cairo.
Under the plan, according to the report, the US will recognize a Palestinian state and its capital in east Jerusalem, on condition that the Old City will come under international protection. The plan calls for the Jordan Valley and major settlement blocs to remain under Israeli sovereignty, and for small, isolated settlements to be relocated.
The plan calls for the PA to get more security and administrative authority in Areas A and B, and for the US to $40 billion to develop the Palestinian state and it institutions.
Regarding the contentious refugee issues, the plan calls for the refugees and their descendants to be absorbed in the countries where they now reside, and for compensation to be paid.
The Prime Minister’s Office would not respond to the report.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said last week at the University of Chicago that the US plan is nearing completion.
“They’re coming up with a plan,” she said of US negotiators Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. Though she did not give any details, she said, “It won’t be loved by either side, and it won’t be hated by either side.”