Predictions scarce regarding Trump’s Mideast ‘deal of the century’

Ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest White House meeting, Israeli analysts remained reticent to predict the contents of the Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News

The long-anticipated US peace plan was not announced ahead of Monday’s White House meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump. Despite the lack of a published proposal, President Trump has called the agreement the “deal of the century,” and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat released alleged portions of the “deal,” which he rejected as “liquidating” Palestinian dreams of statehood, while amounting to an “apartheid system.”

Speaking to a Fatah gathering last week, Erekat presented a purported point-by-point outline of Trump’s proposal, which included, among other features, the following terms: a demilitarized Palestinian state with a strong police force and a “capital” outside the current municipal boundaries of Jerusalem; Israeli annexation of settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria and withdrawal from areas currently under Palestinian control; international recognition of Israel as the Jewish people’s homeland and the Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinians; and a solution for Palestinian “refugees” in the context of the future Palestinian state.

Lenny Ben David from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs told World Israel News (WIN), “I don’t want to predict the outcome of the cholent (stew) since we don’t know the ingredients. The fact that Erekat releases so-called details does not make it so. We really don’t know what the final ‘peace plan’ will look like. What we have heard is only from Arab sources, a lot is just guess work, and what Erekat says is suspect.”

Speaking from the AIPAC conference in Washington, Col. Miri Eisin, a former adviser to Prime Ministers Olmert and Barak, told WIN, “If nothing else, I hope that the Netanyahu-Trump meeting will renew hope for a peace process. Just as Trump surprised the world with his Jerusalem declaration, I would not discount his peace proposals with negative cynicism.”

Dr. Mordechai Kedar from Bar Ilan University told WIN, “The plan will go nowhere because Israel knows where it will lead and that is to another terror state. Israel is well aware that the entire concept would devastate Israeli security. Dealing with the core issues is fruitless because the Arabs reject the conclusions in advance. With its current boundaries, Israel is invincible. Unfortunately, due to the relationship with Trump and the US, Netanyahu cannot afford to say ‘no.’ I expect that he will give Trump praise and moral support, but in fact Netanyahu will drag his feet and do nothing to bring the Palestinians to the table.”

David Weinberg from the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies told WIN, “There are too many people speaking without knowing what they are talking about. Most of what we see out there about the peace plan is speculation. In my view the best thing Trump and Netanyahu can do is to transform regional peace diplomacy by putting final status issues on the table. Putting issues like ‘Palestinian refugees’ and other final status issues near the top of the agenda is a good idea. Similarly, tackling the Temple Mount and the Jerusalem issues is crucial toward concluding an agreement. This is flipping the apple cart toward a path of realism by putting the toughest issue right at the top.”