US President Donald Trump has ordered senior adviser Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, his Special Representative for International Negotiations, to tie up the last ends of his administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The full text must be ready two weeks before the ceremonial inauguration of the US Embassy at its Jerusalem compound, he said. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and wife will head the 250-strong US official delegation to the event. Newly-confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also considering making an appearance at the event.
DEBKA Weekly’s Washington and Jerusalem sources, reporting this, add that last month, President Trump set in motion the process for unveiling his peace plan at the same time as the US embassy inauguration on May 14. He broached the plan last month in his White House talks with the visiting Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and in phone conversations with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi. He also asked Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to come aboard but was rebuffed.
These feelers yielded broad consensus on the following points:
- The Trump peace plan will be released as planned regardless of its rejection by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the entire Palestinian leadership.
- The Arab world is also expected to publicly nix the blueprint while keeping it afloat by offering to make its acceptable elements the basis for further discussions on an eventual peace deal between the Palestinians and Israel.
- The White House, Egypt and Gulf nations agreed to headhunt Palestinian figures living outside the PA domain, who hold different views from the Ramallah elite, and would be willing to underwrite the plan. Five eminent Palestinians have been found as possible candidates.
- The Israeli prime minister will issue a cautious statement proposing to use the Trump plan as the springboard for immediate negotiations with Arab governments on disputed points. Administration envoys have buttonholed a wide range of Israeli political leaders, both in the government coalition and on opposition benches, to stave off domestic ructions when Netanyahu approves the Trump plan.
- The fate of the blueprint will be handled exclusively by Kushner and Greenblatt.
- Sources who have perused the text report it addresses the subjects at issue in detail, including Jerusalem. DEBKA Weekly quotes these sources as revealing the following nuggets:
A Palestinian state will be established with limited sovereignty across about half of the West Bank and all the Gaza Strip. Israel will retain security responsibility for most of the West Bank and the border crossings, as well as jurisdiction and a military presence in the Jordan Valley. The Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem will be relegated to the Palestinian state, excepting the Old City, which will be part of Israeli Jerusalem. Palestine and Jordan will share religious jurisdiction over the city’s mosques.
Abu Dis east of Jerusalem is the proposed capital of Palestine. Gaza will be integrated in the new state if Hamas agrees to be disarmed.
There is no provision in the plan for the Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” – only the creation of a compensation mechanism to be managed by the international community.
The Trump plan mandates Israel’s recognition as the homeland of the Jewish people, and Palestine with limited sovereignty as the Palestinian homeland.