Trump’s indecision is sinking his own two-state solution

January 17, 2021 by David Singer

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President Trump’s failure to release a detailed plan showing the specific borders of a Palestinian Arab State incorporating Gaza and about 70% of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) – before he leaves office at midday on 20 January – will sink the only two-state solution that has any possibility of being implemented in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

President-elect Biden seems set to support the failed two-state solution propagated by the United Nations for the last 25 years – which is unacceptable to Israel.

When releasing his comprehensive plan “Peace to Prosperity – A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People” (“Peace Plan”) on 28 January 2020 – Trump pointed out:

  • “For the first time in this conflict, President Trump has reached an understanding with Israel regarding a map setting forth borders for a two-state solution.
  • This Vision proposes a realistic two-state solution, offering a viable path to Palestinian statehood.
  • Israel has now agreed to terms for a future Palestinian State.”

Trump’s Peace Plan – unlike any other Presidential solution previously offered by his predecessors – was accompanied by the following conceptual plans showing his proposed two-state solution.

The final borders were to be determined in direct negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

At a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 28 January 2020 – Trump announced:

“We will form a joint committee with Israel to convert the conceptual map into a more detailed and calibrated rendering so that [Israeli] recognition can be immediately achieved. 

We will also work to create a contiguous territory within the future Palestinian State for when the conditions for statehood are met, including the firm rejection of terrorism.” 

Trump’s Peace Plan was rejected by PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on 5 February 2020:

“They told me Trump wants to send me the deal of the century to read, I said I would not,” Abbas told the meeting of Arab League foreign ministers. 

“Trump asked that I speak to him over the phone, so I said ‘no’, and that he wants to send me a letter, so I refused to receive it.”

On 9 February 2020 – US Ambassador to Israel – David Friedman – affirmed:

“The process [preparing a detailed map – ed] will not last very long, but we want to go through a process…We’re going to go through a mapping process to convert a map which is drawn of more than a million to one into something which really shows on the ground how the territory will be put together.

 It’s not unduly difficult, but it’s also not simple, because there are a lot of judgment calls. We don’t want to do this piecemeal …

We want to do it once, holistically, in totality, and get it done right. We just want to get it done right. That’s not too much to ask. And that was the president’s message when he spoke about it the first time.”

On 15 February 2020 – the three US members of a joint US-Israel committee to join Israel’s three nominees in translating Trump’s conceptual plans into two defined territorial entities were announced (Mapping Committee).

Eleven months later the Mapping Committee’s map remains under tight wraps. No reasons have been given for the Committee’s failure to publish.

Failing to release the Committee’s detailed map before 20 January will see Trump’s two-state solution sink into political oblivion – leaving no defined borders for future Israel-PLO negotiations – should they ever be resumed.

President Trump’s opportunity to finally end the 100 years-old unresolved Jewish-Arab conflict will then have become just a footnote in history – joining the failed attempts of his Presidential predecessors.

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and a foundation member of the International Analysts Network

Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively by the author —is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog

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