*UPDATES WITH REMARKS BY ISLAMIC JIHAD CHIEF
By Abdelraouf Arnaout
JERUSALEM (AA) – An Israeli newspaper published a document Tuesday which was circulated between officials in Israel’s Foreign Ministry that details elements of the U.S. back-channel peace plan known as the "Deal of the Century".
No American, Israeli or Palestinian authorities have confirmed the leaked document published by Israel Hayom, which is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The U.S. intends to publish its plan next month.
According to the Israeli daily, the plan includes the following main points:
A tripartite agreement will be signed between Israel, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas. A Palestinian state called "New Palestine" will be established in "Judea and Samaria" (the West Bank) and Gaza, with the exception of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
2. Evacuation of land
The settlement blocs in the West Bank will remain under Israeli control and will stretch to reach other isolated settlements.
Jerusalem will not be divided or shared between Israel and New Palestine and will be the capital of both Israel and New Palestine. The Arab population in Jerusalem will be citizens of New Palestine.
The Israeli Jerusalem municipality will be responsible for all areas of the city except for education, which will be dealt with by the new Palestinian government. The new Palestinian Authority will pay taxes and water costs to the Jerusalem municipality.
Jews will not be allowed to buy Arab homes, Arabs will not be allowed to buy Jewish homes, no additional areas will be annexed to Jerusalem and the present status of the holy sites will continue.
Egypt will lease new land to Palestine to construct an airport and factories and serve the commercial and agriculture sectors without allowing Palestinians to reside on this land. The borders of these lands and leasing price will be determined between the two parties through the mediation of the supporting countries.
5. Supporting States
The parties that will financially support the implementation of this agreement are the U.S., the European Union and the oil-producing Gulf states.
The supporting countries will provide a budget of $30 billion over five years for national projects in the new Palestine.
The budget will also include the cost of connecting Jewish settlements and large settlements to Israel.
The U.S. will pay 20% of the cost for such projects and the EU 10%, while oil-producing Gulf states will fund 70%, which will be determined by oil revenues of the countries.
Most of the financial support burden will fall on the oil-producing countries because they will be the main beneficiaries of this agreement.
6. The military
The new Palestine will not be allowed to create an army. The only weapons it will be allowed to possess will be light weapons for the police.
A protection treaty would be signed between Israel and New Palestine under which it will pay Israel to defend it from foreign aggression.
The cost of this payment must be determined in negotiations between the parties which would be mediated by the supporting states.
7. Timelines and stages of implementation
When signing the agreement:
- Hamas will deposit all its weapons, including personal arms, with the Egyptian authorities.
- Hamas members, including leaders, will continue to receive salaries from supporting countries until the government is formed.
- The border of the Gaza Strip, including the maritime border, will be open to the movement of goods and workers to Israel and Egypt, as the current situation of the West Bank.
- Within one year, democratic elections will be held and a government of New Palestine will be elected and every Palestinian citizen will be able to run for election.
- One year after the elections and establishment of the government, Palestinians held in Israeli prisons will be released gradually over the course of three years.
- Within five years, a seaport and airport will be established in New Palestine, and until then, Palestinians will use airports and seaports in Israel.
- The border between New Palestine and Israel will be open to the movement of citizens and goods as is the case with friendly countries.
- A highway connecting the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be established. China will pay 50% of its cost, while South Korea, Australia, Canada, the U.S. and the EU will each pay 10%.
8. The Jordan Valley
- The Jordan Valley will remain under Israeli control.
- Road 90 will become a four-lane road.
- Israel will issue a tender to widen the road.
- New Palestine will be given two new routes to Jordan with crossings under its control.
- If Hamas and the PLO refuse to sign the ‘Deal of the Century’, the U.S. will cancel all financial support to the Palestinians and ensure that no country transfers funds to them.
- If the PLO signed the deal but Hamas or Islamic Jihad refused, the leaders of these two movements will be considered responsible. In a new war between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the U.S. will back Israel in targeting these leaders.
- If Israel refused to sign the deal, the U.S. would cease all financial support.
Meanwhile, secretary general of the Islamic Jihad resistance group, said he is expecting "an Israeli war on Gaza Strip in the summer".
Speaking to the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV, Ziyad Al-Nakhaleh said that such war would come as part of efforts to apply the so-called Deal of the Century.
"We as a resistance in Gaza are ready for any war," Al-Nakhaleh said.
He described the recent Israeli attacks on civilians in Hamas-run coastal enclave as an attempt to pressure the Palestinian resistance in Gaza.
The Israeli military pounded the coastal enclave over the weekend with airstrikes and artillery barrages while Gaza-based resistance factions responded by firing rockets towards southern Israel.
The violence ended at dawn on Monday, when a ceasefire — the exact terms of which remain unclear — went into effect.At least 27 Palestinians were killed in the exchange and scores more injured, while four Israelis were killed, according to Israeli media reports.
The escalation began last Friday when four Palestinians were killed by Israeli military strikes on Hamas-affiliated positions in Gaza.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat