• Deal of the Century? Historic Israeli/Palestinian Peace Plan Announced from White House

    Surge Summary: President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a new peace plan which could be a turning point in Israeli/Palestinian relations – if the Palestinian leadership agrees to be a part.  

    by Gary Bauer

    I just returned from a historic event in the East Room of the White House where President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a new peace plan.

    The room was electric, filled with Christian and Jewish leaders, as well as key administration officials who worked on the plan, including Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador David Friedman.

    There were also several ambassadors from Arab nations in the audience, a hopeful sign that others in the region are eager to work with Israel and the United States to advance peace in the Middle East.

    The president received more than a dozen standing ovations, and Prime Minister Netanyahu received nearly as many as they outlined their vision for lasting peace.  This is not a “pie in the sky” deal.  Nor does it force Israel to do anything that will hurt its security.  Here are some of the key elements of the Trump plan:

    • Jerusalem remains the undivided capital of Israel.  This is essential from Israel’s stand point, and something that Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel and I worked very hard to guarantee.
    • The Palestinians must recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
    • Hamas must be disarmed, and the Palestinians must reject terrorism.
    • The so-called “refugee problem” will be settled outside the boundaries of Israel.
    • Israel will suspend construction in disputed territories for four years to give both sides time to implement various aspects of the deal.
    • The president pledged $50 billion of investment to provide hope and economic opportunity to the Palestinian people.

    Trump spoke directly to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying, “If you choose the path of peace, America will be there to help you every step of the way.”

    Netanyahu praised Trump as “the greatest friend that Israel has ever had in the White House.”  He hailed the Trump peace plan as “a realistic path to a durable peace,” that recognizes Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and other strategic areas of Judea and Samaria.

    The prime minister vowed, “If the Palestinians are genuinely prepared to make peace with the Jewish state. . . Israel will be prepared to negotiate peace right away.”

    Almost every American president and Israeli prime minister has tried and failed to negotiate a lasting peace between Israelis and the Palestinians.  The problem is not Israel or the United States.

    The real obstacle to peace is the refusal of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah and others to recognize the right of Israel to exist at all.  Their so-called “leaders” have rejected every peace deal ever offered to them.  They have to want peace with Israel.

    As I noted above, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed the hope that the Palestinian leadership would not be stupid and reject this deal out of hand.  Unfortunately, Mahmoud Abbas has already done just that.

    Another major problem is that the Palestinian people are themselves divided between Abbas and his Fatah Party in the West Bank and Hamas, which rules Gaza.  It’s not at all clear who speaks for the Palestinian people.

    The 84 year-old Abbas is now in the 15th year of his four-year term of office and is expected to step down sometime this year.  Polls show that Hamas, a terrorist organization funded by Iran and dedicated to Israel’s destruction, could easily prevail in a new election.

    How do you compromise with an opponent who wants you dead? Nonetheless, Prime Minister Netanyahu has once again joined with President Trump to try to find a way forward.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge.

    Originally posted here.

    Image: Screen shot: NBC News; https://www.nbcnews.com/video/trump-netanyahu-outline-mideast-peace-plan-at-white-house-event-77714501523

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