Events since Trump announced Mideast peace plan

2 min 13Approximate reading time

Key developments since US President Donald Trump in January unveiled his controversial plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, granting numerous concessions to his ally Israel.

– ‘Realistic solution’ –

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner spent around three years working on the plan to resolve the decades-old conflict.

Trump unveils the plan in Washington on January 28, 2020, standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It gives the Jewish state a US green light to annex key parts of the occupied West Bank, with Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital, and economic aid to the Palestinians.

“My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security,” Trump says.

Netanyahu says the plan offers a “realistic path to a durable peace”.

The plan includes a Palestinian capital in Abu Dis, outside Jerusalem, breaking with decades of consensus that the holy city’s status must be settled in peace talks.

The Palestinians, who see Trump’s administration as biased against them, reject the plan outright.

“This conspiracy deal will not pass. Our people will take it to the dustbin of history,” Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas says.

– Palestinians cut ties –

The United Nations says it remains committed to a two-state solution based on the borders in place before the 1967 war, when Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to a “negotiated and viable two-state solution”.

Saudi Arabia says it “appreciates” Trump’s efforts, but stresses “the kingdom’s steadfast stance on the Palestinian issue and the rights of the Palestinian people”.

The day after Trump’s announcement, protests flare in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and Palestinian demonstrators clash with Israeli security forces in the West Bank.

Rockets and mortar rounds are fired and incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip, prompting Israeli retaliation.

On February 1, Abbas announces a cut of all ties with Israel and the United States, including security cooperation. Two days later he nuances his position.

– ‘Swiss cheese’ –

On the 7, Kushner calls on the UN Security Council to break its “habits” and solve the “hardest problem in the world”.

On the 11, Abbas urges the UN body to reject Trump’s plan, denouncing it as a “Swiss cheese” deal that would give the Palestinians only a “fragmented state”.

His comments come after the Palestinians drop plans for a vote on a resolution that would denounce the proposal, for lack of international support.

– Israel’s prerogative –

On April 20, Netanyahu reaches a historic deal with one-time rival parliament speaker Benny Gantz to form a unity government, ending the country’s worst-ever political crisis.

The Netanyahu-Gantz deal allows the prime minister to announce from July 1 a plan to implement the Trump proposal.

The decision on whether to annex much of the West Bank is the prerogative of Israel’s new unity government, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says two days later.

On April 23, the UN’s special Middle East envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, warns an Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank would be a “devastating blow” to the two-state solution.

On April 27, the United States says it is ready to recognise Israel’s annexation of much of the West Bank but asks the new unity government also to negotiate with the Palestinians.

On the 30, the Arab League says Israel’s proposal to annex much of the West Bank constitutes a “new war crime” against the Palestinians.

On May 12, Pompeo, ahead of talks in Jerusalem on Wednesday with Netanyahu and Gantz on the plan, tells an Israeli newspaper that the decision to annex will fall to Israel.

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