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Review Mideast peace plan

Tuesday February 18 2020

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The opposition to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan continues to gather momentum, with the loudest reverberations, and predictably so, emanating from the Arab Muslim world. It is the high time President Trump gave the dissenting voices an ear or the plan is dead on arrival.

The bone of contention is not only in the substance but also the manner in which the 80-page plan was conceived, prepared and presented. Essentially a deal between the US and Israel, it was unveiled by President Trump alongside visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month at the White House with no Palestinian representation.

Israel would retain control of the disputed city of Jerusalem as its “undivided capital” and annex settlements on Palestinian lands. Palestinians, however, want all of East Jerusalem to be the capital of any future state. Mr Netanyahu recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided capital”, though claiming that the one for Palestine will include a part of East Jerusalem. To him, the plan is just what the doctor ordered, to the chagrin of Palestinians.

The Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation have unequivocally opposed the plan, as have several states, including Morocco and Tunisia. African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat also opposed it. He said last week the plan was devised without consulting Palestinians and violates AU and UN resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestine-Israel hostility has outlived generations. How one wishes a lasting solution would be found! To many an impartial arbiter, there could be no better antidote than a two-state solution with mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty. Having been forced to share borders, it would be foolhardy for one to wish the other away. The Trump plan cries for a review.