UPDATE – Trump unveils Israel-Palestine plan amid opposition

Alaturka Politika Haberleri

ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump released his oft-delayed plan to end the Israel-Palestine conflict Tuesday, calling it "fundamentally different from past proposals" as doubts persist it will gain traction amid stiff Palestinian resistance.

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"It is the most detailed proposal ever put out by far," Trump said at the White House where he was hosting Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu. “Complex problems require nuance, fact-based remedies. That is why our proposal provides precise tactical solutions to make Israelis, Palestinians, and the region safer and much more prosperous."

Among the details of Trump's plan, Jerusalem will remain Israel's "undivided capital, Trump said, making light of tensions caused by his decision to recognize the contested city as Israel's territory in December 2017.

"Under this vision, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s undivided capital. But that’s no big deal, because I’ve already done that for you, right?” Trump said, apparently rhetorically, to laughter.

Trump briefed Netanyahu and Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz on the 80-page peace plan, spearheaded by his son-in-law and special advisor Jared Kushner, at the White House on Monday. But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has adamantly refused Trump's requests for a phone call, according to a Palestinian official.

Abbas announced on several occasions his refusal of the U.S. plan as it does not address the issues of Jerusalem, refugees and borders.

The plan does not appear to meet even the most basic Palestinian demands for comprehensive peace with Israel, including the right of return for Palestinian refugees who fled or were forced out of their homes as a result of conflict, as well as their descendants.

Thousands of Palestinian protesters reportedly took to the streets ahead of Trump's formal announcement in opposition to the proposal.

Palestinian officials have cut off communications with their U.S. counterparts since Trump decided to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, undercutting a key pillar of peace talks which held the status of the contested city was to be determined through negotiations.

Trump said his proposal also requires the "firm rejection of terrorism" from Palestinians, and the recognition of a "contiguous" Palestinian state that would "double the Palestinian territory" over time once certain conditions are met. Israel would be granted security control of the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank.

Neither Palestinians nor Israeli would be uprooted from their homes, Trump claimed.

The White House has yet to release a copy of the lengthy proposal.

Netanyahu thanked Trump for the "'fantastic deal," saying he has agreed to "negotiate peace with the Palestinians on the basis of" the plan.

Trump's announcement comes as he finds himself in the thick of an impeachment investigation that has gained steam after bombshell revelations from a former top aide, and as Netanyahu withdrew his request that Israel's legislature vote on possible immunity from three graft cases he is facing amid a lack of support and political blowback ahead of March's nationwide elections.

Netanyahu was formally indicted on Tuesday on charges of corruption including bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

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