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Trump peace package for the Middle East probably stop short of Palestinian statehood



President Trump's proposal for a "century deal" to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict raises practical improvements in the Palestinians' lives, but is likely to stop to secure a separate, completely sovereign Palestinian state, according to people who are familiar with the most important elements of the effort.

The White House is expected to roll out its long-awaited peace package later this spring or early summer after more than two years of work with Trump's advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Officials have kept information on the plan secret, but comments from Kushner and other US officials indicate that it is doing away with government as the starting point for peace action, as it has been for the past two decades.

The plan would represent Trump's efforts to put his own stamp on diplomacy to resolve a conflict that has been rooted since 1948, and it is likely to focus strongly on Israeli security concerns. Trump has told friends that he wants to build traditional assumptions about how to resolve the conflict, but unlike his unorthodox personal diplomacy with North Korea, Trump has largely outsourced the Middle East peace process to his sister-in-law.

Most analysts give Kushner little chance of success, where decades of US-backed efforts have failed. His outlook is aggravated by the perception of European and some Arab leaders that Trump has shown his cards through a series of actions favorable to Israel.

Arab officials familiar with Kushner's outlets said he had not offered any specifics, but suggested that the plan turned to economic opportunities for Palestinians and the strengthening of Israeli control over the disputed area.

Kushner and other US officials have linked peace and economic development to Arab recognition of Israel and the acceptance of a version of the status quo on Palestinian "autonomy" as opposed to "sovereignty", people who have spoken to the Kushner team said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's evening pledge for his re-election last week to attach some Jewish settlements to the West Bank is added to the per ception among diplomats and analysts that the Trump administration will highlight broad Israeli control over disputed land.

"What we have been trying to do is find out what is realistic and what is a fair solution to the problems here in 2019 that can allow people to live a better life," Kushner said in a rare interview with Sky News Arabia when he sought Arab support on a visit to the region in February.

"We believe we have a plan that is fair, realistic and implementable will allow people to live a better life," a senior white house official said Friday. "We looked at past efforts and encouraged ideas from both sides and partners in the region, recognizing that what has been tried previously has not worked. Thus, we have taken an unconventional approach based on not concealing reality, but instead speak the truth. "

Netanyahu has promised to consider the plan Trump has said will ask for concessions from both sides. The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said that the Americans are biased, but a chief advisor said last week that the Palestinians will not reject the Trump plan.

Former Trump lawyer Jason D. Greenblatt, who would be the leading US negotiator for negotiations, tweeted a direct appeal to Palestinian leaders last week.

"To PA: Our plan will greatly improve Palestinian life and create something very different from what exists," Greenblatt wrote. "It is a realistic plan to thrive / flourish, even if it means compromises. It is not a" sale "- if the plan is not realistic, no one can deliver it."

Kushner described the plan as having four pillars: freedom, respect, security and opportunity.

"We want people to have the opportunity for freedom, religious freedom, freedom to worship, whatever your faith," Kushner said in the interview Sky News.

"We want all people to have dignity and respect for each other" And "be able to improve their lives and not allow their grandfather's conflict to hijack their children's future," he said in a reference to Palestinian demands.

"And the final is security," Kushner said, a clear reference to the top Israeli demand for any solution to the conflict of seven decades.

The Palestinian Authority suspended all official contact with the Trump administration in December 2017, when Trump followed a campaign that promised to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

K ushner and greenblatt have called the Palestinian boycott short-term in discussions with Arab and European nations whose economic and political support they seek. But Kushner has also pointed to the Jerusalem decision as a potential selling point and tells a Saudi Arabian public in February that Trump keeps his word and can thus be a credible mediator for peace.

On February 26, Riyadh's meeting included Saudi intellectuals and colonists as well as officials, and the participants were elected by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a person familiar with the session.

The Prince has forged a close relationship with Kushner and is considered more supportive of the peace plan than is his father, King Salman.

"[Kushner] listened to critical points and questions, but was not willing to think of criticism and was defensive," the person familiar with the session said.

"He seemed to have been surprised when he learned that the majority of people in space were critical of his plan and told him that King Salman emphasized the rights of the Palestinians," the person said.

Although Trump had said in September that he was expecting a roll-out within four months, US officials rescheduled the timeline when it became clear that Netanyahu would call early elections. The plan will wait at least until Netanyahu forms a government, and probably until after both Easter and Ramadans.

"We still weigh a number of factors," said a US official. "Timing is still being drafted and no decision has been made at the time when we should roll it out."

The US official requested anonymity to discuss plans for the still secret package. Some Arab and Israeli officials familiar with the discussions around the package also requested anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the contents of confidential meetings.

Netanyahu, a close Trump confidant, seems to have the support of enough political parties to form a governing coalition over the coming weeks. Right-wing parties, which support the expansion of Jewish settlements and opposite concessions to Palestinians, are likely to be a significant component, causing some analysts to declare the elections the end of a "two-state solution."

Israeli United Nations Ambassador Danny Danon said Israel is waiting for everyone else for details of the American ideas.

"We welcome what we want to look at it. We are open," Danon said in an interview. "Unlike the Palestinians, we respect the work done by the team and we will be willing to look at it and talk about it. The Palestinians say exactly the opposite – they say we won't talk to the Israelis and we do not want to see the plan drawn up by the United States.

The package is expected to require tens of thousands of billions of dollars in support and investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the two areas in which most Palestinians live, and billions more to Egypt. and Jordan, the two Arab states that have made peace with Israel.

"What we have found is that all conflict makes people have no opportunity to act and have the opportunity to improve their lives," said kushner in the interview "Hopefully, if we can solve this problem, we will see much more opportunity for the Palestinian people, for the Israeli people and the people of the whole region."

Kushner has been less eager to discuss it am Erican financial contributions, analysts say, and it is not clear whether Congress would reverse all major US spending on an agreement that did not promise Palestinian government.

Wealthy Persian Gulf States "were asked to financially support the economic part" under Kushner's latest tour, said Ghaith al-Omari, a former Palestinian Authority Advisor, now an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

"In the polite respect the answer they gave was:" First tell us what we should pay for, said Omari. "There were no obligations."

U.S. officials have said that the package is not a purchase of Palestinian claims.

"The economic plan only works if the region supports it. This is a very important part of the overall equation," said the senior US official. "But it is not a so-called economic peace. We take very seriously both aspects of this, the political one dealing with all the key issues and the economic," said the official.

The core problems are generally understood to include borders, Palestinian demands to land in what is now Israel and the status of the disputed Jerusalem. In recent talks under three US Presidents, these issues have been elements of proposals for the creation of a separate Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, and that was what was meant when US dealers talked about a political solution. This time it is not clear what the United States means.

"We understand that if the political aspect of it is not solid, the economic aspect is meaningless. But at the same time, the political aspect will not succeed without a proper economic plan," said the US official.

Ilan Goldenberg, chief of staff of the leading US negotiator in the last failed effort of President Barack Obama, said he agreed with Kushner's strategy of drafting a detailed set of proposals at the beginning of the negotiations, but that he Still expecting the package to be a nonstarter.

"I think this plan is dead on arrival," said Goldenberg, who controls the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. "The main concern is whether the plan is heavily biased towards Israel, which is what we expect and they put it down and the Palestinians reject it, so it becomes a preacher to move towards annexation."


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