The Crisis In The Middle East

Explained: West Asia Peace Plan

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : West Asia Peace Plan

Mains level : Palestine & Israel conflicts

With West Asia Peace plan US plans to revive the stalled two-state talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who had earlier spoken against the two-state solution, has accepted the Trump plan.

West Asia Peace Plan

The West Asia peace plan unveiled by U.S. President Trump seeks to give the Israelis what they have long wanted — an expansive state with Jerusalem as its “undivided capital” and tight security control over a future Palestinian state.

What’s the plan about?

  • The Trump plan seeks to address most of the contentious issues in the conflict such as the border of Israel, status of Palestinian refugees, Jewish settlements on the West Bank, land swap between Israel and Palestine, Israel’s security concerns and the status of the city of Jerusalem.
  • However US have proposed to almost all of these issues favour the Israeli positions.
  • For example, Israel would be allowed to annex the Jewish settlements on the West Bank as well as the Jordan Valley.
  • The Palestinian refugees, who were forced out from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that followed the declaration of the state of Israel in the historic Palestine, would not be allowed to return.
  • They could move to the future Palestinian state, be integrated into the host countries or settled in other regional countries.

Jerusalem: The undivided Capital

  • Jerusalem, perhaps the most contentious issue, would be “the undivided capital” of Israel, with Palestine gaining its capital in the east of the city — beyond the security border Israel has already built.
  • In return, Israel would freeze further settlement activities on the West Bank for four years — the time for negotiations.

Land Swap

  • According to the Oslo Accords, the West Bank was divided into three areas and only one of them is under the direct control of the Palestinian Authority.
  • The plan proposes some land swap for the Israeli annexation of the West Bank Jewish settlements.
  • It seeks to enlarge Gaza and connect the strip with the West Bank through a tunnel.
  • The Arab towns in the southeast of Israel, which are close to Gaza, could become part of a future Palestinian state.

Curb on Hamas

  • During this period, the Palestinian Authority should dismiss its current complaints at the International Criminal Court against Israel and refrain itself from taking further actions.
  • It should also crack down on “terrorist” groups such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

Investment Plans

  • US has also proposed $50 billion in investment over 10 years should Palestine accept the proposals.
  • In the final settlement, Palestine would get control over more land than what it currently controls.

Implications for Palestine

  • The Palestine position is backed by most of the world powers is the formation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state based on the 1967 border.
  • It means the whole of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital including the Old City that houses Haram esh-Sharif, also known as Temple Mount, a holy site for both Muslims and Jews.
  • Issues like the right of return of the Palestinian refugees are to be settled in final negotiations.
  • But US has effectively rejected the Palestinian claims outright and asked them to make more compromises.
  • He seeks to give Jerusalem and about 30% of the West Bank to the Israelis and has denied the right of return of the Palestinian refugees.
  • And for this, the Palestinians should take action against militant groups, stop supporting Palestinian families of those jailed or killed by Israel and refrain itself from questioning the occupation in international fora.
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