President Trump’s now released deal of the century – calling for the creation of a second Arab statein former Palestine in addition to Jordan (“the two-state solution”) – has predictably already been consigned to the dustbin of history by PLO President Mahmoud Abbas on the day of its publication.
Trump's solution was a mirage based on the same shaky foundations unsuccessfully pursued by the international community since the 1980 Venice Declaration.
Trump’s failure to address the following issues ensured its collapse from the get go:
1. The term “Palestinians” is not defined in the plan’s Glossary.
Who comprise “the Palestinians” and what constitutes their common identity?
2. Trump’s plan states: “Palestinians have aspirations that have not been realized, including self-determination”.
Trump ignores that the “Palestinians”' right to self-determination was realized when all West Bank Arabs became citizens of Jordan between 1950 and 1967 – then continued to retain their Jordanian citizenship until revoked by Jordan in 1988.
3. Trump’s plan states: “The State of Israel has also exchanged sizeable territories for the sake of peace, as it did when it withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for peace with the Arab Republic of Egypt.”
Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
Why was this not mentioned?
4. Trump’s plan states: “One reason for the intractability of this problem is the conflation of two separate conflicts: a territorial, security and refugee dispute between Israel and the Palestinians and a religious dispute between Israel and the Muslim world regarding control over places of religious significance.”
There is only one conflict – between Jews and Arabs - fuelled by the Arab League’s refusal to recognise the State of Israel since its establishment in 1948.
The religious dispute was resolved under the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty granting Jordan control over places of Islamic religious significance in Jerusalem.
5. Trump’s plan states that Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin: 'envisioned Jerusalem remaining united under Israeli rule, the portions of the West Bank with large Jewish populations and the Jordan Valley being incorporated into Israel, and the remainder of the West Bank, along with Gaza, becoming subject to Palestinian civil autonomy in what he said would be something “less than a state.” Rabin’s vision was the basis upon which the Knesset approved the Oslo Accords, and it was not rejected by the Palestinian leadership at the time.'
Rabin actually said:
“We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines”.
6. Trump’s plan states: “This Vision addresses today’s realities, and provides the Palestinians, who do not yet have a state ...”
The key to successfully ending this 100 years unresolved conflictrequires Jordan’s borders to be extended to incorporate those areas designated as “A Future State of Palestine” in Trump’s already-defunct proposal.The “Palestinians” do have a state – now called Jordan – created in 78% of former Palestine in 1946.
President Trump needs to go back to the drawing board and persuade Israel and Jordan to urgently negotiate those new borders.
Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article – is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog.