Trump pleases Israel with Mid-East peace plan, angers Palestine, Latest World News - The New Paper

Trump pleases Israel with Mid-East peace plan, angers Palestine

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But long-awaited proposal is swiftly rejected by Palestinians, who label it 'biased'

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump released his long- delayed Israeli-Palestinian peace plan on Tuesday, promising "a new dawn", but angry Palestinians called it biased and deserving to go in the "dustbin of history".

Standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House's East Room, Mr Trump said his plan could succeed where decades of previous US attempts to intervene had failed.

"Together we can bring about a... new dawn in the Middle East," Mr Trump said to an audience that included throngs of Israeli and Jewish American guests - but apparently no Palestinian representatives.

The Palestinians are flat out rejecting the plan, which grants Israel much of what it has sought in decades of international diplomacy, namely control over Jerusalem as its "undivided" capital, rather than a city to share with the Palestinians. The plan also lets Israel annex West Bank settlements.

Mr Trump praised Israel for taking "a giant step towards peace" with the plan, which lays out a vision for future Palestinian statehood if a series of strict conditions are met.

These include requiring the future Palestinian state to be "demilitarised", while formalising Israeli sovereignty over settlements built in occupied territory.

The US President painted a future where some US$50 billion (S$68 billion) in investments would eradicate the misery gripping Palestinians today, while allowing Israel never "to compromise its security".

Criticising previous US diplomatic efforts as overly vague, Mr Trump noted his version was 80-pages long and contained a map depicting the proposed future neighbouring states.

However, the Palestinians angrily rejected the entire plan.

"This conspiracy deal will not pass. Our people will take it to the dustbin of history," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.

Mr Trump promised a "contiguous" future Palestinian state, addressing the current situation where Israel controls broad territory separating the two main population centres of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

But the map showed the West Bank remaining riddled with Jewish settlements linked to Israel and only a long road tunnel connecting the area with the seaside Gaza Strip.

The plan makes clear that Israel is free to annex its settlements on Palestinian lands right away.

On Jerusalem, Mr Trump said Israel should retain control over the city as its "undivided capital". At the same time, the Palestinians would be allowed to declare a capital within occupied East Jerusalem, he added.

The Hamas Islamist movement, which runs the Gaza Strip, said it could never accept a compromise on Jerusalem being capital of a future state.

Mr Netanyahu called the proposal "the deal of the century".

Mr Trump said he had written to Mr Abbas to enlist his support.

"I explained to (Abbas) the territory allocated for his new state will remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years," he said. - AFP