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Trump and Netanyahu unveil Middle East peace plan

Jan 29, 2020

Washington (USA) Jan 29: Donald Trump has unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan in a joint press conference with Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
What does the plan envisage?
The plan supports the creation of a Palestinian state, doubling its current size and placing its capital in parts of east Jerusalem.
It also calls for a four-year freeze in any Israeli settlement activity, although it was not clear if this could be extended if both sides failed to reach a comprehensive deal in the meantime.
But despite this independence and growth in size, the plan would in return recognise Israeli sovereignty over major settlements in the West Bank - something that is expected to be sorely opposed by Palestinians.
It would also see to the disarmament of the Hamas militant and political group, and make religious sites - such as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City - accessible to all.
What did Trump have to say?
"Today, Israel takes a big step forward to peace," Trump began. "Young people across the Middle East are ready for a more peaceful future."
"I was not elected to do small things or shy away from big problems. It's been a long and arduous process to arrive at this moment."
Trump says his proposal was "fundamentally different" from other peace plans and the "most detailed" yet.
But one Palestinian MP told Euronews the plan was an Israeli one in an American envelope.
"I want this deal to be a great deal for the Palestinians," continued Trump, saying it was a great opportunity for Palestine to have a state of its own.
"It could be the last opportunity," he added.
What did Netanyahu have to say?
Netanyahu asked why previous peace plans had failed.
"They failed because they did not strike the right balance between preserving Israeli security and the possibility of self-determination for the Palestinians," he said.
Other plans, unlike this one, had tried to get Israel to withdraw from the Jordan Valley, Netanyahu added.
"You have been the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House," said Netanyahu to strong applause.
What has been the reaction?
Aside from Trump and Netanyahu appearing to be together positive on the plan, the Palestinians - as expected - were not.
In a tweet after the announcement, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation - of which President Mahmoud Abbas is the head - rejected the plan.
It wrote: "Achieving peace requires first and foremost respect and adherence to the fundamental principals of international law.
"The U.S. plan recognizes Israel's illegal colonization and annexation of occupied lands belonging to the State of Palestine."
Officials in Jordan, one of the only Arab nations to have a peace treaty with Israel, stressed the need to launch negotiations to find a solution that people could accept and work with.
"The Palestinian issue will remain our first and central issue," a tweet from Amjad Odeh Adaileh, the Jordanian minister of state for media affairs, said.
He added: "A just, comprehensive and lasting peace that meets the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people is a Jordanian-Palestinian Arab strategic choice, and a just peace is only what will be protected and preserved by peoples and future generations.
"Jordan supports every real effort aimed at achieving a just and comprehensive peace that people accept.
"We stress the importance of launching serious and direct negotiations that address all final status issues within the framework of a comprehensive solution, which constitutes a necessity for the stability of the region."
Meanwhile, human rights groups have also reacted with a similar tone in saying the plan would continue to encourage an Israeli dominance.
Eric Goldstein, the acting Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said it "underscores what the long-moribund 'peace process' has become: a fig leaf for Israel's entrenched discriminatory rule over Palestinians."
Source: Euro News