What is Trump’s Plan for “Peace” in the Middle East?

Nazareth Mehreteab, Online Features Editor

President Donald Trump’s plan regarding “peace in the Middle East” has sparked recent controversy. There are several new changes Trump hopes to implement in his plan, including forming a map that will serve as the basis for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, re-establishing Palestinian’s capital to be located in East Jerusalem, and several other political reforms. Trump’s plan is an astonishing 80 pages long, and he claims that this “is the most detailed proposal ever put forward,” though the basis for such a claim is unclear. As a consequence, many opposing perspectives have emerged regarding possible drawbacks and benefits of this thorough peace plan.

Conceptual map of Trump’s Middle East peace plan, via twitter on January 28, 2020.

Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were not on board with Trump’s plan. Warren tweeted that “releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a sham.” By calling Trump’s plan a “sham”, Warren implies that the plan is one-sided, as Trump and Netanyahu are the only ones who have a final say in the details. Senior Nasim Amer reflected the sentiments of the current Speaker of the Kuwait National Assembly, who emphasized that this is not the “deal of the century” but instead “its true place is in history’s garbage bin.”

The plan has also left Palestinians furious, as they strongly oppose the way in which Trump has re-established their country’s territory. Since the beginning of the peace plan, Palestinians have wanted East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future region. However, Trump has permitted Israel’s separation wall to be alongside its eastern border with Palestine. This has left ungoverned enclaves to serve as Palestine’s new capital. Political Science professor at Al-Quds University, Rula Hardal, says, “It’s impossible for us to accept Abu Dis as a capital. Our official stance has long been that East Jerusalem is our capital.”

Others see benefits in Trump’s proposal. “I think that this plan is very positive. It takes into account Israel’s legitimate security interests and recognizes reality on the ground. This is a great starting point for negotiations to start face to face,” said senior Ari Nagelberg.

In spite of such viewpoints, however, many believe that the peace deal was more inflammatory than peaceful and caused more problems than it solved. Junior John Akbari noted that, “I think it’s interesting that this deal comes up right as Trump is impeached and Netanyahu is charged for corruption.”