U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan on Tuesday which called for the creation of a Palestinian Arab state with a capital in eastern Jerusalem.
The so-called “Deal of the Century”, billed as the most-detailed such Mideast peace plan ever, would eventually double the Palestinians’ territory and Trump said he would proudly open an embassy in East Jerusalem.
“I was not elected to do small things or shy away from big problems,” Trump said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was at the White House on Tuesday for the announcement of the plan, which Trump said offers a “realistic two-state solution” and “territorial compromises” that rival Israeli parties can accept. It will also freeze Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory for four years.
“It is only reasonable that I have to do a lot for the Palestinians or it just wouldn’t be fair,” Trump said, adding that Jerusalem will remain Israel’s “undivided capital” and the plan will not force Israel to compromise its security.
National and Islamic forces in Ramallah, the top coordinating framework of the Palestinian Arab organizations, denounced the plan and called for protests to “fight to thwart the intention to annex the region to Israel.”
Friday has been declared a “Day of Rage” and Muslims are called to arrive in large numbers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Arutz Sheva reported.
The Palestinian organizations emphasized that “the Palestinian people adhere to their rights which are embodied in the refugees’ right of return, the right of self-determination and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state whose capital is East Jerusalem.”
A senior Hamas official said the Islamic terrorist group rejects the “conspiracies” announced by the U.S. and Israel and that “all options are open” in responding to the peace plan.
“We are certain that our Palestinian people will not let these conspiracies pass. So, all options are open. The (Israeli) occupation and the U.S. administration will bear the responsibility for what they did,” senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya told the Associated Press.
Netanyahu thanked Trump for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over parts of the Jordan Valley that are vital for security and “central to our heritage.” Netanyahu also said the plan would disarm Hamas.
Trump said Palestinians should be enticed by billions of dollars in investment that will help their economy thrive on its own.
“They will be doing phenomenally all by themselves,” Trump said. “They are a very, very capable people.”
Trump also thanked Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates for boosting the plan and sending their ambassadors to Tuesday’s event.
Trump gave Netanyahu and the Israeli leader’s political rival Benny Gantz a sneak peek of the plan in separate meetings at the White House on Monday. He said both men endorsed the plan.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley endorsed the plan on Monday in an address at the Israel Center on Addictions event in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
“The number one priority” of the deal is “the national security of Israel,” she said.
“We knew we would not do anything to compromise security, and there would be no deal if either party disagreed,” Haley added, according to a report in Israel Hayom.
“The goal is to get to a place where we can help the Palestinians be in better condition – without harming Israel. The Palestinians have said they are not going to come to the table, but the key is how Arab states respond to the plan. The U.S. will not try to push either side. At the end of the day, it should be a decision between Israel and the Palestinians,” Haley said.
“It is a plan that is doable and I hope everyone will keep an open mind. You deserve peace and this is the time to take a brave step forward. My hope is that Arab society will want to push the matter forward. I think we’ll see a direction of openness, and that may signal to the Palestinians that this is perhaps their last chance.”
Haley noted that Trump “keeps his promises. In every area – the restriction of Iran, the move of the U.S. embassy’ to Jerusalem and the elimination of [Qasem] Soleimani, without whom the world is a safer place.”