A document circulated by the Israeli Foreign Minister and published by Israel Hayom, the Jewish State’s most popular newspaper, calls for the creation of “New Palestine.” Moreover, it would make Jerusalem an Israeli municipality shared by both nations with areas designated as Israeli and Palestinian.
The newspaper circulating the report is owned by GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.
Based on the sources as well as the text of the document itself, it seems likely this leak is a legitimate document. Whether it was intentionally leaked to test the waters or if it’s a disinformation scheme is unclear, but if it turns out to be an accurate depiction of the peace plan to be proposed by White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, it’s a risky move by the President ahead of the 2020 elections.
Neither side will agree to these terms as they stand unless Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is completely removed from the negotiating table. And that may very well be the trump card Kushner and his team intend to play.
Full analysis to follow, but here is the text translated from Hebrew:
- Agreement — A tripartite agreement will be signed between Israel, a wizard and Hamas, and a Palestinian state will be established, which will be called “the new Palestine,” which will be established on Judea, Samaria and Gaza, with the exception of the settlements.
- Evacuation of Land — The settlement blocs as they are today will remain in the hands of Israel and will be joined by the few settlements. The areas of the blocs will grow according to the area of the isolated settlements that will be added to them.
- Jerusalem — Will not be divided and shared by Israel and the new Palestine and will be the capital of Israel and the new Palestine, the Arab inhabitants will be the citizens of the new Palestine. The Jerusalem Municipality will be responsible for all areas of Jerusalem except the education that will be handled by the new Palestinian government and the new Palestinian Authority will pay the Jerusalem Municipality municipal taxes and water. Jews will not be allowed to buy Arab homes, and Arabs will not be allowed to buy Jewish homes. No additional areas will be annexed to Jerusalem. The Holy Places will remain as they are today held.
- Gaza — Egypt will lease new land to Palestine for the purpose of establishing an airport for the establishment of factories and commerce and for agriculture, other than housing. The size of the territories and the price will be determined between the parties through the mediation of the supporting countries (an explanation for the countries that support the continuation of the road).
- Supporting Countries — The countries that will financially support the implementation of this agreement are: the United States, 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 for the new Palestine. (The cost of evacuating the isolated settlements and their location in the settlement blocs will apply to Israel).
- Division Between Supporting Countries — USA 20%, EU 10%, Oil-Producing Gulf States 70% (divided according to oil production).
- Army — The new Palestine would no longer have to form an army. The only weapon would be light weapons held by the police. A defense agreement will be signed between Israel and the new Palestine in which Israel will guarantee the new Palestine from all external aggression and the new Palestine will pay Israel for this protection. The cost of this payment shall be in negotiations between the parties, mediated by the supporting countries.
- Timelines and Stages of Execution — Upon signing the agreement:
- Hamas will deposit all its weapons, including the personal weapons of the Egyptians.
- Hamas members, including the leaders, will continue to receive salaries from the supporting countries until the establishment of the government.
- All the borders of the Strip will be open to the passage of goods and workers to Israel and Egypt as they are today with Judea and Samaria and by sea.
- Within a year, democratic elections will be held and a government will be elected to the new Palestine. Every Palestinian citizen will be able to stand for election.
- Prisoners – One year after the elections and the establishment of the government, the prisoners will be released gradually for three years and within five years, a seaport and airport will be established in the new Palestine and by then the airport in Israel and the seaports in Israel will be used.
- The borders between the new Palestine and Israel will be open to the passage of citizens and goods as is the case with friendly countries.
- The bridge will come from: China 50%, Japan 10%, South Korea 10%, Australia 10%, China 10%, South Korea 10%, Japan 10% Canada 10%, the United States and the European Union 10%.
- The Jordan Valley — The Jordan Valley will remain in the hands of Israel as it is today. Route 90 will turn into a four-lane toll road. Israel will issue a tender for paving the road. This will give two crossings from the new Palestine to Jordan, these crossings will be under the control of the new Palestine.
- Liability — If Hamas and Shas object to this agreement, the US will cancel all their financial support to the Palestinians and ensure that no country in the world transfers money to them. If the PLO agrees to the terms of this agreement and Hamas or Islamic Jihad do not agree, the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad will be held responsible and in another round of violence between Israel and Hamas, the US will back Israel to personally harm Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders It is inconceivable that a group of a few dozen will determine the lives of millions of people). If Israel objects to this agreement, economic support for Israel will cease. So far the text of the announcement. In about a month, when the program is officially published, its credibility will be clarified.
The big question mark is control over Jerusalem. It seems like it will be designated as a separate Israeli municipality and act as the capital for both nations. But will it have its own laws separate from Israel’s laws, or will it be like Washington DC under the complete jurisdiction of the national government as the only federal city? The latter seems most likely, especially when we consider Palestinians living in the city will be considered citizens of New Palestine.
The details of trade and transit are interesting because it presupposes a peaceful coexistence that will somehow erase decades of extreme tension between the two sides. Will the Palestinians be able to keep remnants of terrorists from seeping through trade routes between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip?
The trump card I mentioned above is the end of Hamas as a factor in the area. By calling for elections within a year and assuming those elections will favor the PA, Hamas will no longer have control over the Gaza Strip. They won’t go quietly, which is why the United States will be tasked with assisting Israel in eliminating them should they object to the terms of the agreement, which they most certainly would.
Pound-for-pound, this is the most achievable two-state solution I’ve ever seen based solely on the Hamas factor. Both sides would gain from giving Hamas the boot. That may be the only acceptable gain as both sides will feel they are giving up too much to make it happen. But the prospects of peaceful coexistence may be enough to sway the people to pressure the politicians. This isn’t a plan geared towards the leaders of Israel or the Palestinian Authority. It’s geared to be acceptable to the people under their rule. In that regard, this may be the most brilliant peace plan proposed IF it succeeds.
In case it sounds like I support it, I do not. This opens the door to too many holes in Israel’s defensive structure. Because they will be responsible for safeguarding both themselves and New Palestine, it behooves them to maintain a military presence in New Palestine. This will not be welcomed by the people, but it will be necessary. Provocations against New Palestine will instantly draw Israel into the fray, and there will be provocations. It’s the loophole in the deal that could put Israel in a very poor defensive situation.
But the last part is most troubling. This is a Godfather-esque deal. Kushner would be making them an offer they can’t refuse by tying aid to acceptance of the deal by both sides.
Politically, proposing this deal now puts a timer on its acceptance. President Trump is not known for patience and he wouldn’t want to go into an election with the deal floundering in indecision. He will press both sides to take the deal before election day, 2020. If it’s signed, it would all but guarantee the President’s reelection. If it fails, it’s another foreign relations black eye on his resume.
A two-state solution is too dangerous for Israel to consider, but this deal has huge incentives for both sides in the short term. If this is legitimate, we could be seeing the rough draft of true history in the making.