Israeli Reports on US Amendments of 'Deal of the Century'

Friday, 18 January, 2019 - 11:00
Ramallah, Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat and Nazir Majli

Israeli political sources circulated reports about “improvements” made by the US Administration to the initial text of the Middle East peace plan, including “amendments that allow the Arabs to agree to negotiate”. The reports noted that while the Americans considered these amendments “necessary to guarantee balance” between the two sides, Israelis believed they were in favor of the Palestinians.

Although the US presidential envoy for the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, said the reports were inaccurate, the Israeli sources replied that they relied on “a senior US official in the negotiating staff at the White House” and that there were “US bodies involved in the blackout on the plan on the eve of the Israeli elections.”

The Israeli sources gave the exclusivity of broadcasting the news to Israeli Reshet TV.

The channel revealed that the amended US plan was based on documents entitled, “The Century Deal to Consolidate Peace in the Middle East.” It talks about the establishment of a Palestinian state on 85-90 percent of the occupied West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its Arab neighborhood as the capital, excluding the city’s old town, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Resurrection and other holy places are located. The old town will be under Israeli control, but with a joint administration of Jordan and the Palestinian state.

The report refers to a solution to the settlements based on dividing them into three categories: the first, including large blocs such as Gush Etzion (located on occupied Palestinian land stretching from Bethlehem to Hebron) and Ma'aleh Adumim (south of occupied East Jerusalem), and Ariel (in the Nablus area), and will be annexed to Israel in full, according to the US deal.

The second includes a number of remote settlements, such as Itamar and Yitzhar, which accommodate a group of settlers of American origins known for their extremism and attacks on the Palestinians. They will remain in Israeli hands, even though they will be part of the Palestinian state.

The third category of settlements, which include illegal outposts, will be evacuated.

In exchange for the annexation of the settlements, Palestinians will be compensated by giving them land of the same size and value in the Triangle area - inhabited by Arab citizens (the Palestinians 1948) - adjacent to the West Bank.

The reports noted that the US official did not address items in the US plan relating to the Gaza Strip and the refugee issue, and did not elaborate on whether the plan itself ignored the two issues or did not tackle them.

In a Tweet, Greenblatt said the reports were inaccurate. He warned against issuing false or distorted information that would harm the peace process.

For his part, Palestinian Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said in response to Israeli leaks that any peace plan “that does not include the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders will be doomed to failure.”

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