President Donald Trump unveiled a proposal for the Israel peace plan which calls for a two-state solution that includes the state of Israel and a Palestinian state, with a capital for the former in Jerusalem and a capital for the latter in portions of East Jerusalem.
“Although laudable, this proposed plan is a non-starter. Neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas will agree to a state of Israel. And history has proven that dividing the land of Israel for Palestinian control will never work,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
The proposed plan more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control, although it also recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, the so-called West Bank. The plan also includes a map of a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank, with a proposed tunnel to connect the West Bank and the Gaza strip. There would be land swaps south of Gaza to give the Palestinians more territory. Jordan’s custodianship over the Temple Mount sites will not change.
The plan calls for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated for Palestine to become an official state. Israel will maintain sovereignty over all the Jewish villages in Judea and Samaria and maintain security of the area.
A small strip of land between the Egyptian border and the proposed land swap areas south of Gaza would remain Israeli territory and be subject to Israeli security control. This was requested by Egypt as a buffer against cross-border terrorism.
Under the plan, the Palestinians would have to reach certain benchmarks to achieve a state. Those benchmarks include rooting out terrorism, cease funding terrorists and their families, implementing steps toward free speech, and other political reforms. The plan also calls for a demilitarized Palestinian state, which includes Hamas in Gaza. The more the Palestinians can show they can secure their areas and cooperate with Israel, the less Israel will have to do in terms of maintaining security.
Israel will continue to safeguard Jerusalem’s holy sites and will guarantee freedom of worship for Jews, Christians, Muslims, and people of all faiths.
President Trump said, “We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership – based on shared interests and values – to pursue a better future for us all.” He said it was up to the Palestinians whether to accept the plan.
In his first public reaction to the newly announced U.S. peace proposal, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, “No, no and no to the ‘Deal of the Century.’ Jerusalem is not for sale. All of our rights are not for sale or bartering.” He also added that the Palestinian people will send the plan to “the dustbin of history.”
Staver said, “History shows that the Oslo Accords promoted by former President Bill Clinton are a disaster. You cannot appease people who want to eliminate the Jews and wipe out Israel by giving them land. We now have a terrorist group controlling Gaza, and other areas under the Palestinian Authority are unsafe.”
Staver continued, “There is no one authority representing the Palestinian people who is capable of approving this agreement. The Palestinian Authority does not represent Hamas, and Hamas does not represent the Palestinian Authority. President Clinton offered the Palestinian Authority 95 to 98 percent of what they demanded, and they refused to accept his proposal. This peace plan is a non-starter. This plan will not be accepted by the Palestinians, and the Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel’s right to exist. Moreover, creating a Palestinian state will merely expand their terrorist activities to more strategic locations like Jerusalem,” concluded Staver.