A leaked draft of the White House's 'deal of the century' brings into question the Trump administration’s ability to be both a friend to Israel, and an impartial broker of peace.
An Israeli newspaper published a document on Tuesday that was reportedly circulated between officials in Israel’s foreign ministry detailing elements of the US back-channel peace plan known as the "deal of the century."
US President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been a key player in drafting the plan, which has been two years in the making.
Kushner has been tight-lipped about the contents of the plan, saying last week that the blueprint, attempts to ensure security for Israel and provide economic opportunity to improve the lives of Palestinians.
The plan won't be released before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends during the first week of June, and perhaps not even then.
Although there have been several leaks regarding the plan, the details haven’t been confirmed by either party.
Here are five main features of the so-called ‘deal’
It’s not a ‘deal’, it’s a ‘surrender’
A Palestinian state called "New Palestine" will be established in the West Bank and Gaza, with the exception of Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank.
The Palestinians have pre-emptively rejected any peace proposal floated by the Trump administration amid concerns it would fall far below their hopes for an independent state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem — which they want as their capital — and Gaza, lands captured by Israel in the 1967 war.
Their demand for a two-state solution is supported by the UN and almost all of its 193 member-states. UN resolutions have also stressed that this outcome is to be agreed upon by the parties.
Palestinians demand that the future borders between the two sovereign states pass along lines that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War, with the possible exchange of territories.
They hope to create their own state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with a capital in East Jerusalem. Israel refuses to return to the 1967 borders, and to share Jerusalem, declaring the city as its eternal and indivisible capital.
The US is crafting a surrender document, not a peace plan, and the Palestinians will not accept it regardless of how much money is offered, Palestine's Foreign Minister Riyad al Maliki said on Thursday.
Talking about the plan’s element of providing economic opportunity to improve the lives of Palestinians, he added that "and there is no amount of money that can make it acceptable."
Israel’s annexation of occupied territories
The state of New Palestine will be formed with the exclusion of Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank as well as other isolated settlements.
This is in contradiction to several UN resolutions over Israel’s illegal settlements.
One of the more stranger elements of the deal which sounds like a logistical nightmare is the leak that Jerusalem will not be divided or shared between Israel and New Palestine — but will also be the capital of both Israel and New Palestine. The Arab population in Jerusalem will be citizens of New Palestine.
Jews will not be allowed to buy Arab homes, Arabs will not be allowed to buy Jewish homes, no additional areas will be annexed to Jerusalem and the present status of the holy sites will continue.
Similarly, the Jordan Valley will remain under Israeli control, according to the leaked plan.
Conditions and implementation
Under the deal Hamas is required to surrender weapons to Egyptian authorities and hold elections within a year in Gaza.
The border between New Palestine and Israel will eventually be open to the movement of citizens and goods as is the case with friendly countries.
‘New Palestine’ will not be able to create a military and will sign a protection treaty with Israel under which it will pay Israel to defend it from foreign aggression.
US envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt did not comment on the details mentioned in the leaks but chose only to reject an indication in the plan that said the US will give a portion of Egypt's Sinai to Gaza.
Oddly, I am still hearing reports about this – my original tweet still stands. https://t.co/NdkqCgNVvN— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) May 8, 2019
The parties that will financially support the implementation of this agreement are the US, the European Union and the oil-producing Gulf states.
The supporting countries will provide a budget of $30 billion over five years for national projects in the new Palestine.
The budget will also include the cost of connecting Jewish settlements and large settlements to Israel.
The US will pay 20 percent of the cost for such projects and the EU 10 percent, while oil-producing Gulf states will fund 70 percent, which will be determined by the oil revenues of the countries.
Most of the financial burden will fall on the oil-producing countries because they will be the main beneficiaries of this agreement.
Similarly, a highway connecting the West Bank and Gaza will be established. China will pay 50 percent of the cost, while South Korea, Australia, Canada, the US and the EU will each foot 10 percent of the expenses.
Consequences of rejection
If Hamas and the PLO refuse to sign the ‘Deal of the Century’, the US will cancel all financial support to the Palestinians and ensure that no country transfers funds to them.
If the PLO signs the deal but Hamas or Islamic Jihad refuses, the leaders of these two movements will be considered responsible. In a new war between Israel and Gaza, the US will back Israel in targeting these leaders.
If Israel refused to sign the deal, the US would cease all financial support. Israel has been the largest recipient of US aid since 1946 amounting to a total of $134.764 billion, including $94.792 billion in military assistance and $34.265 billion in financial aid.
The plan does not specify a situation where all parties reject the deal.