US President Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled what he termed as ‘Deal of the Century’ with Isreali counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. The deal is aimed at solving the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Today, Israel takes a big step towards peace,” Trump told a White House news conference, standing alongside visiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he revealed key points of the plan already strongly rejected by 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 said.
The plan was warmly welcomed by Israel’s prime minister, who called it a “historic day” for the Jewish state. The plan, Trump said, proposes a four-year freeze of Israeli development in the area eyed for a future Palestinian state.
“Jerusalem will remain Israel’s undivided, very important, undivided capital,” Trump stressed. But the plan would also provide the Palestinians with a capital in occupied East Jerusalem, he said, while indicating that the West Bank would not be cut in half under the plan.
“We will also work to create a contiguous territory within the future Palestinian state, for when the conditions for statehood are met, including the firm rejection of terrorism,” Trump said as he called on the Palestinians to turn their back on the radical Hamas movement.
Calling it a “historic opportunity” for the Palestinians to achieve an independent state, Trump said he had written on Tuesday to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas to enlist his support for the plan.
No Palestinian official was present at the launch although the ambassadors from three Arab nations — Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — were at the White House.
“I explained to [Abbas] that the territory allocated for his new state will remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years,” Trump said. “This could be the last opportunity they will ever have.”
“Palestinians are in poverty and violence, exploited by those seeking to use them as pawns to advance terrorism and extremism,” the president added. “They deserve a far better life.”
Given that it has been emphatically rejected by the Palestinians, the latest of many US proposals to address the bitter, multi-generational Middle East conflict might seem to have little future.
Iran has slammed Donald Trump’s so-called “Deal of the century” and instead terming it as a “treason of the century.”
“The Zionist regime is an occupying regime and the only solution to solve the Palestinian crisis is a referendum among all main residents of the Palestinian land and such vicious plans are doomed to failure,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Tuesday.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday dismissed the US president’s “delusional” plan, stressing that it will be “dead on arrival.”
Zarif made the remarks in a tweet, noting that instead of promoting the so-called deal, the world must respect the rights of all Palestinian peoples to self-determination.
“Instead of a delusional ‘Deal of the Century’—which will be D.O.A.—self-described ‘champions of democracy’ would do better to accept Iran’s democratic solution proposed by Ayatollah @khamenei_ir,” Iran’s foreign minister said.