Middle East

Trump Unveils 'Two-State Solution' To Middle East Conflict

The Israeli Prime Minister was beside the US President as he unveiled the plan.

The US President has unveiled his Middle East peace plan.

Donald Trump is calling for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in portions of east Jerusalem, ending speculation as to whether his administration, in preparing a proposal without input from Palestinian leaders, would abandon a "two-state resolution" to the conflict.

The plan unveiled on Tuesday more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control.

However, it also recognises Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, something to which the Palestinians will almost certainly object.

The Palestinians have already rejected the proposal, accusing Mr Trump of being biased in favour of Israel as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at their expense.

The plan does call for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Mr Trump’s announcement.

It was not immediately clear if the freeze could be extended if a final deal is not concluded in the four years.

WATCH: The American and Israeli leaders met in Washington ahead of the announcement.

The 50-page political outline goes further in concessions to the Palestinians than many analysts had believed was likely.

However, it would require them to accept conditions they have been previously unwilling to consider, such as accepting West Bank settlements.

It builds on a 30-page economic plan for the West Bank and Gaza that was unveiled last June and which the Palestinians have also rejected.

Under the terms of the “peace vision” that Mr Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working on for nearly three years, the future Palestinian state would consist of the West Bank and Gaza, connected by a combination of above-ground roads and tunnels, according to the officials.

The officials said that both Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political challenger in March elections, Benny Gantz, had signed off on the plan.

Mr Netanyahu was beside Mr Trump as he unveiled the plan at the White House.

After the 'Peace for Prosperity' document was published, Donald Trump shared this image - tweeting: "This is what a future State of Palestine can look like, with a capital in parts of East Jerusalem." (Picture; The White House).

The event came as Mr Trump’s impeachment trial continues in the Senate and Israel’s parliament had planned a hearing to discuss Mr Netanyahu’s request for immunity from criminal corruption charges.

Mr Netanyahu withdrew that request hours before the proceedings were to begin, but Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, is still expected to meet.

The body had been likely to vote against immunity, dealing Mr Netanyahu a blow.

In the run-up to the March election, Mr Netanyahu has called for annexing parts of the West Bank and imposing Israeli sovereignty on all its settlements there.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, and the Jordan Valley, in particular, is considered a vital security asset.

Security responsibility for the Jordan Valley would remain in Israel’s hands for the foreseeable future but could be scaled back as the nascent Palestinian state builds its capacity, under the terms of the plan, which says that statehood will be contingent on the Palestinians meeting international governance criteria.

The officials said they expected negative responses from the Palestinians, as well as Turkey and Iran, but were hopeful that Jordan and Egypt, the only two Arab nations to have peace treaties with Israel, would not reject it outright.

They added they expected Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others to cautiously welcome the plan.

The reaction of Jordan, which would retain its responsibilities over Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque under the plan, will be particularly significant, according to the officials, who said Mr Kushner and others were reaching out to Arab leaders ahead of the rollout.

The Palestinians see the West Bank as the heartland of a future independent state and east Jerusalem as their capital.

Most of the international community supports their position, but Mr Trump has reversed decades of US foreign policy by siding more blatantly with Israel.

Israeli soldiers at Gaza border CREDIT PA
Israeli soldiers at the Gaza border (Picture: PA).

The centrepiece of his strategy was recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the American Embassy there.

He has also closed Palestinian diplomatic offices in Washington and cut funding to Palestinian aid programmes.

Those policies have proven popular among Trump’s evangelical and pro-Israel supporters and could give him a much-needed boost from his base as he gears up for a re-election battle this year.

But the Palestinians refuse to even speak to Mr Trump and they are calling on support from Arab leaders.

The Palestinian leadership also has encouraged protests in the West Bank, raising fears that the announcement in Washington could spark a new round of violence.

Ahead of the announcement, the Israeli military said it was reinforcing infantry troops along the Jordan Valley.

Meanwhile, protestors in Gaza showed their anger at the US President and his plan even before it was formally revealed. 

Palestinian politicians were not involved in the creation of the plan as they refused to engage in talks with the Trump administration, which they say perpetrates a pro-Israel agenda.

At the weekly Council of Ministers meeting, the Palestinian prime minister called for the international community to reject the plan as inconsistent with the basics of international law.

Cover Image: Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan on Tuesday (Picture: White House).