A Lebanese newspaper on Thursday published what it said were sections of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” peace plan – and it does not include creation of a Palestinian state. Instead, it advocates for full Palestinian autonomy in Areas A and B, as well as in Gaza, with the fate of Area C to be decided in future negotiations.
The plan, as published in the Lebanese Al-Quds newspaper, is similar to a report in The New York Times published Wednesday, which has the plan putting a great emphasis on enhancing economic development in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas. The majority of military checkpoints, mostly in Area B, will be removed, in order to make it easier for PA Arabs to travel and trade. That may entail building new roads that will connect PA cities and villages. The United States and other countries will invest $25 billion in PA-controlled areas to boost the economy, with an additional $40 billion invested in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, in order to promote trade with the PA.
Some of the $25 billion to be invested in the PA will be directed to high-tech; the plan describes a situation in which American and Israeli tech firms expand their operations and bring jobs to PA cities. A large port will be built in Gaza, and an air link between Gaza and PA cities will be established.
Israel will retain overall security throughout Yehudah and Shomron. “Isolated” Israeli communities in Area C will be removed. Israel will remain in control of the settlement blocs, but they will not be expanded. It’s not clear if by “expanded” the plan means that they will not grow territorially, or that no construction will take place. The plan does not discuss land swaps, the report said, but up to 60,000 Arabs who claim refugee status will be allowed to return to PA-controlled areas in Yehudah and Shomron or to Gaza. A committee will be established to discuss compensation to Arabs who claimed their forebears fled what was to become Israel in 1948.
According to the report, PA chief Mahmoud Abbas is dead-set against the plan and has told Washington that the PA will not cooperate. The report said that Abbas has been in touch with Arab leaders, urging them to tell Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, authors of the plan, that they reject it. The two American representatives have been meeting with Arab rulers in recent days to discuss the plan.