Trump offers two-state peace plan for Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid skepticism

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE on Tuesday unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan that was hailed by Israel and ripped by Palestinian leaders.

Trump unveiled his plan at the White House alongside Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE, just weeks before the Israeli leader is set to compete in a contentious third round of national elections and the same day he became the country’s first sitting prime minister to be formally indicted. The announcement also came amid Trump’s impeachment, briefly shifting the focus away from the seventh day of his trial in the Senate.

Shortly after the announcement, the Israeli government said it would vote this weekend on annexing 30 percent of the West Bank.


“My vision provides a win-win opportunity for both sides. A realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security,” Trump said in the East Room of the White House, standing next to Netanyahu. “Crucially, the proposed transition to a two-state solution will prevent no incremental security risk to the state of Israel.”

The plan received mixed reviews on Capitol Hill, particularly among Democrats.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election | Holiday spending estimates lowest in four years | Domestic workers saw jobs, hours plummet due to COVID Hoyer lays out ambitious Democratic agenda for 2021, with health care at top CNN won't run pro-Trump ad warning Biden will raise taxes on middle class MORE (D-Calif.) said the White House offered lawmakers a two-page summary ahead of the plan's unveiling.

“On the first read of these two pages, there appears to be a basis for negotiations,” Pelosi said. “So let us be optimistic and hopeful and let us pray for peace.”

After the full plan was released, at nearly 200 pages, several Senate Democrats slammed the proposal.

White House hopeful Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Dems want hearing on DOD role on coronavirus vaccine | US and India sign data-sharing pact | American citizen kidnapped in Niger Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls Senate Democrats want hearing on Pentagon vaccine effort MORE (D-Mass.) ripped the administration's plan, arguing it offered no real future for a Palestinian state.


She tweeted that Trump's proposal was a "rubber stamp" for future annexation of Palestinian-held territory by Israeli forces, adding that she would oppose any plan that, like Trump's, was not crafted with Palestinian negotiators at the table.

"I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form—and reverse any policy that supports it," she tweeted.

Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Democratic senators offer bill to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers MORE (D-Md.) called Trump’s proposal an “anti-peace plan,” arguing it is “one-sided,” to the detriment of Palestinians.

Trump’s plan was immediately dismissed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and no Palestinian representatives were present at Tuesday’s White House unveiling. Palestinians reportedly burned photos of Trump and Netanyahu in the West Bank and protests broke out in the Gaza Strip.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in a briefing with reporters that “Israel didn’t have to wait at all” to begin annexing areas the plan designates for Israel.

Netanyahu referred to the U.S. plan as “recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, large and small alike,” using the biblical term to refer to the West Bank.

Detailed maps of the plan were tweeted out by Trump in English, Hebrew and Arabic, showing pockets of territory dotting the West Bank identified as land designated for a Palestinian state. It also included the Gaza Strip, and enclosed bubbles of land along Israel’s border with Egypt in the Negev Desert.

The Associated Press reported that Jordan warned Israel against moving ahead with annexation and said that it is committed to the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, which includes all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The Trump plan offers a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem with the promise of an American embassy, but also said that Israel would retain control over an “undivided” Jerusalem as its capital. The president said he expects Israel to continue working with Jordan to preserve the status quo over Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem’s old city.

Egypt offered muted support on Tuesday for Trump’s plan, urging Israelis and Palestinians to “carefully study” the plan, the AP reported.

Trump said the U.S. will give the Palestinians four years to achieve benchmarks in the plan — rejecting terrorism and violence against Israel, cleaning up government corruption and demilitarizing Hamas and Islamic Jihad — and engage with the plan, preserving territory designated for their state until then.

“I sent a letter today to President Abbas,” Trump said in his remarks. “I explained to him that the territory allocated for his new state will remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years. During this time, Palestinians can use all appropriate deliberation to study the deal, negotiate with Israel, achieve the criteria for statehood and become a truly independent and wonderful state.”


Administration officials downplayed the lack of Palestinian participation in Tuesday’s ceremony.

“It’s a big opportunity for the Palestinians,” senior White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerDemocrats accuse Kushner of 'casual racism' over comments about Black Americans Scaramucci says Trump has united country: 'It just happens to be against him' Obama slams Kushner comments on Black Americans: 'What history books do they read?' MORE, the lead architect of the peace plan, told CNN. “And, you know, they have a perfect track record of blowing every opportunity they’ve had in their past, but perhaps maybe their leadership will read the details of it, stop posturing and do what’s best to try to make the Palestinian people’s lives better.”

Netanyahu said he would agree to begin negotiations with the Palestinians “on the basis of [Trump’s] peace plan.”

The plan received the endorsement of Netanyahu’s chief political opponent, Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White political party, but called for implementation after the March 2 elections and the formation of a stable government.

Tuesday’s event marked a culmination of sorts. Trump has promised throughout his three years in office that he would deliver a plan to foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but details had always been scarce and its release was repeatedly delayed.

Trump has repeatedly pointed to his administration’s support for Israel to bolster his foreign policy bonafides and support among white evangelical voters.


“As everyone knows, I have done a lot for Israel,” he said Tuesday, citing the relocation of the U.S. embassy, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights territory and withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

"It is only reasonable that I have to do a lot for the Palestinians, or it just wouldn't be fair,” he added.

Updated at 6:01 p.m.