Photo Credit: FLickr
West Bank

{Originally posted to the BESA website}

The sadly predictable knee-jerk rejection by the Palestinian leadership of all peace initiatives with Israel calls into question not only their commitment to peace but their concern for the Palestinian people’s very welfare and safety. Palestinians have aspirations that have not been realized, including self-determination, improvement of their standard of living, social betterment, and a respected place in the region and the world. Many desire peace and recognize the enormous economic opportunities and social benefits that await if relations with Israel can be normalized.

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Donald Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan is the most realistic and achievable peace proposal ever put forward. It offers the following benefits to the Palestinian people:

  • The power to govern themselves, with a path toward a dignified national life, respect, security, and economic opportunity.
  • The necessary conditions for investment to start flowing into the region. The stagnant Palestinian GDP could double in 10 years, creating over 1 million new jobs, reducing unemployment below 10%, and slashing the poverty rate by 50%. Tools to be peaceful and secure rather than perpetually unstable and in conflict.
  • A transportation corridor that greatly reduces the need for checkpoints and enhances mobility, quality of life, and commerce.
  • A just, fair, and realistic solution for Palestinian refugees, who have suffered for 70 years and been treated as pawns both by their own leadership and by the Arab regimes.
  • Jerusalem would be a city that unites people and remains open to worshippers of all religions. The State of Israel and the State of Palestine would enter into an agreement to ensure freedom of access to, and prayer rights at, all religious sites within both states. The physical barrier would remain in place and serve as a border between the capitals of the two parties. The eastern part, consisting of Shuafat and Abu Dis, could be named Al-Quds.
  • The plan’s Conceptual Map delivers significant territorial expansion to the Palestinians, enhances mobility, avoids forced population transfer, enhances commercial viability and economic independence, provides for a potentially significant expansion of Gaza, and facilitates integration of the State of Palestine into the regional and global economy through state-of-the-art infrastructure solutions comprised of bridges, roads, and tunnels.
  • It gives the State of Palestine the opportunity to develop its port.
  • It proposes land swaps to provide the State of Palestine with territory reasonably comparable in size to that of pre-1967 West Bank and Gaza.
  • Any Palestinian living in an enclave inside contiguous Israeli territory would maintain existing Israeli citizenship unless he or she chooses otherwise.
  • The plan provides the possibility of allocating to the Palestinians Israeli territory close to Gaza within which infrastructure can be rapidly built to address Gaza’s humanitarian needs. This could enable the building of thriving Palestinian cities and towns that would help the people of Gaza flourish.
  • Israel’s “Triangle Communities,” comprising Kafr Qara, Ar’ara, Baq’a al-Gharbiya, Umm al-Fahm, Qalansawa, Taibe, Kafr Qassem, Tira, Kafr Bara, and Jaljulia, would become part of the State of Palestine.
  • The economic plan would facilitate more than $50 billion in new investment over 10 years and provide access to quality healthcare, as Palestinian hospitals and clinics would be outfitted with the latest technology and equipment.
  • Subject to Jordanian agreement, a free trade zone between Jordan and the State of Palestine would be established to expedite economic cooperation between the two countries.
  • The State of Israel would allow the State of Palestine to use and manage earmarked facilities at both the Haifa and Ashdod ports for cargo ships. Subject to Jordanian consent, Palestine would be able to use and manage an earmarked facility at the port of Aqaba.
  • Five years after the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement and assuming satisfaction of the Gaza Criteria, the State of Palestine would have the right, subject to the satisfaction of Israel’s security and environmental requirements, to create an artificial island off the coast of Gaza to develop a port as well as an airport for small aircraft.
  • The State of Israel would allow the State of Palestine to develop a resort area north of the Dead Sea without prejudice to the State of Israel’s sovereignty at that location.
  • The agreement would provide for the release of Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees held in Israeli prisons, except those a) convicted murderers or attempted murderers; b) convicted of conspiracy to commit murder (including murder by terrorism); and c) Israeli citizens.
  • Palestinians eligible for “refugee rights” (i.e., those registered as refugees by UNRWA) would be eligible for resettlement in the State of Palestine at a rate of 5,000 “refugees” per year for up to 10 years.
  • Palestinians ineligible for “refugee rights” would be locally integrated into their current host countries (subject to those countries’ consent) and offered compensation.

The Palestinian leadership claims that every suggestion is a conspiracy and every initiative a trap. Are these massive benefits a trap or an opportunity? And if they are rejected, will they ever come again?

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