President Donald Trump has presented his long-awaited Middle East peace plan on Tuesday - Photo: AP

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – United States (US) President Donald Trump has presented his long-awaited Middle East peace plan on Tuesday (01/28), promising to keep Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, while calls for a state of Palestine with a capital in east Jerusalem.

The plan calls for the recognition of Israeli settlements in the West Bank in exchange for a four-year freeze on new settlement activity. It will double the territory under the control of the Palestinians, Trump said during an event Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The president also said that the US will proudly open an embassy in the new Palestinian capital. He claimed that the plan would lead to US$50 billion in new commercial investment in Palestine and that “if executed well” it could create 1 million new Palestinian jobs.

The proposal favors Israel and was immediately rejected by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who dismissed the plans as a “conspiracy”.

“I say to Trump and Netanyahu: Jerusalem is not for sale, all our rights are not for sale and are not for a bargain. And your deal, the conspiracy, will not pass. After the nonsense that we heard today, we say a thousand no’s to the Deal of The Century,” Abbas said, according to AP

Palestinians have cited Trump policies such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem as evidence of pro-Israel bias that prevents the administration from being a neutral party in negotiations.

Dampening the plan’s chances further, the foreign minister of Jordan, Israel’s neighbor to the east, on Tuesday rejected the proposed recognition of Israeli settlements. Trump had suggested during the news conference that Jordan’s King Abdullah II would play a key role in aspects of the peace plan related to maintaining Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, but that now appears unlikely.

Despite the deal’s long odds of success, Trump suggested that the peace plan marked a historic step forward.

“This is an unprecedented and highly significant development. Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for having the courage to take this big step forward,” Trump said Tuesday during the news conference with Netanyahu.

Trump has been more friendly to Israel than previous US presidents. The administration reversed decades of American foreign policy in November when it declared that it did not consider Israel’s settlements in the West Bank to violate international law, contradicting the conclusions of international bodies such as the United Nations.

The Israeli side welcomed the deal. Netanyahu, speaking alongside Trump, called the peace plan “exceptional” and a “realistic path to a durable peace.”

“This is a historic day. And it recalls another historic day. We remember May 14, 1948, because, on that day, President Truman became the first world leader to recognize the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu’s spokesperson said later in the day that the prime minister would move forward with a vote on annexing parts of the West Bank covered in the peace plan as soon as Sunday. The high-profile meeting between Trump and Netanyahu was seen as an effort to shore up Netanyahu’s electoral prospects as he competes against rival Benny Gantz for reelection in a contest scheduled for early March. Gantz also met with Trump at the White House this week.

The visit also came as Netanyahu faces legal troubles at home. The prime minister was formally indicted earlier Tuesday on bribery and corruption charges brought by Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit. Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing. Trump has promised to broker a peace deal in the Middle East since the first days of his administration, and assigned his son-in-law, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, to oversee it.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com