Very few people, if any, believe that Pres. Trump will succeed with his 'Deal of the Century'. Nor do they know what that deal is or when it will be tabled. But they do know that the US under his leadership is acting unilaterally to neuter the UN, UNRWA and the PA. They also know he acted unilaterally to kill the climate hoax and the Iran Deal and to change free trade into fair trade.
In explaining his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel he stressed that he was just recognizing reality.
In a recent interview, Jason Greenblatt, Pres Trump’s special envoy, said “our plan begins with reality. It recognizes the history of the conflict of course, but [other plans] were always relying on tired notions of what it should be. Instead, it focuses on what it could be.”
Thus, I assume that the Palestinian Arab narrative that has driven the peace process and world opinion for fifty years will be severely undermined and replaced with a reality-based process and history starting with the Palestine Mandate. Greenblatt is mindful of the fact that this narrative was crafted by the KGB in its consultations with Arafat in the sixties and afterwards. They invented the "Palestinian people" as a means to cast the Arabs as the oppressed and the Israelis as the oppressors.
The basis for the Plan will be the signing of the Palestine Mandate in 1922. This mandate split Palestine into two mandates under British rule, namely Arab Palestine (Transjordan) which received 78% of the land and Jewish Palestine (Israel) which received the remaining 22%. Britain tried to further divide the 22%, most notably in the UN Partition Plan of 1947, without success - because the Arabs rejected it. The UN Genereal Assembly (UNGA) passed the resolution pursuant to which, Israel declared independence. The Arabs declared war on Israel, thereby ending their opportunity for creating an Arab state on the part allocated to them.
Actually, the only occupation going on is the Hashemite occupation of Palestinian land, namely Jordan, ever since Jordan’s independence in 1946.
International law recognizes Israel’s right to claim sovereignty over the entire 22%. In addition, Israel cemented this right by their victory over the Arabs in the ’67 War.
No doubt this history will inform the design of the Plan.
Greenblatt went on to articulate a red line, if you will, saying “we will not put forth a plan or endorse a plan that doesn’t meet all of Israel’s security issues because they are of extreme importance to us“ and “Israel is going to have to be comfortable that what we put forth in the plan does not put Israel at risk.” The Palestinian Arabs must accept this as fundamental to the Plan and be “comfortable” with it.
With this in minnd, we can safely assume that Israel will not have to withdraw the IDF from any lands west of the Jordan River. You will recall that Obama wanted to limit their presence in the Jordan valley to a number of decades only.
In explaining why he is putting all this effort into achieving peace when there are bigger problems in the Middle east, namely Syria and Iran, Greenblatt said,
“We think that there are unique circumstances now that warrant an attempt at trying to see whether or not we can do this. President Trump, as devoted and dedicated to the State of Israel and the Jewish people as he is, he’s also dedicated to trying to help the Palestinian people, and the way we can marry those two ideas is by trying to reach a comprehensive peace agreement.”
Greenblatt is guided by two goals. He wants to strengthen Israel and he wants to help the Palestinian Arabs. As he said, “We do believe that many Palestinians want to live in peace, and they want to see their lives improved.”
So how can he marry these goals. He said, “Thus we must abandon all the old formulae and focus on what is doable”.
Taking all the foregoing into account, I believe that the Plan will recognize the original division of Palestine into Jordan as the Palestinian state and Israel as the Jewish state. These states already have a peace agreement in which the agreed border is the Jordan River.
So far so good. But what will happen with the two million Palestinian Arabs, all of whom have Jordanian citizenship, living west of the Jordan River? Presently, these Arabs live for the most part in Areas A and B (1.4 million), Area C (less than 100,000) and Jerusalem (350,000), the areas defined by the Oslo Accords.
According to a very well-informed source, the administration of the A areas, now under full PA control, will pass from the PA to Jordan. These areas include, Tulkarn, Qalkilya, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho. The B areas, where Israel retains security control, will be absorbed into the C area, now under full Israeli control, in order to remove the Swiss cheese effect if one separates Area B from C.
Hevron, on the other hand will be administered by a joint local council made up of Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.
This is the Confederation that Abbas rejected a few weeks ago
In late August, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told members of the American Jewish Congress that "there is no capacity to have peace with the Palestinians unless there's peace with all the Palestinians, including the million and a half in Gaza."
My source also tells me that the Palestinian Arabs living in the Gaza Strip will be given the option of being in a confederation either with Jordan or Egypt. Either way, negotiating a Gaza truce is part of the deal.
This means that the PA will be done away with, because its primary function has become waging war against Israel’s legitimacy
All Palestinian Arabs living west of the Jordan River will be seen as both Jordanian citizens and foreign residents. There will be no need to give them Israeli citizenship.
Israel would then be free to build without restraint in the expanded Area C and in other ways exercise its sovereignty on lands west of the Jordan River.
In effect, all Arabs will remain where they are and will continue to work in Israel. The only difference will be that they have to give up their aspirations for a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River and accept that Jordan is the Palestinian state.
Jordan and Israel will negotiate separate agreements dealing with joint economic relations and joint military arrangements.
The existing Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) in which Israeli companies currently produce goods in Jordan which are sold to the US free of tariffs, will be expanded and improved. Other job creating joint ventures will be set up. These jobs will be available to all Palestinian Arabs who emigrate to Jordan. Expectations are that many of them living west of the Jordan River will emigrate to Jordan to avail themselves of these jobs.
In The Jordan Option promoted by Mudar Zahran, a contender-in-exile for the leadership of Jordan, and me, I proposed that Jordan build a city for 1 million people and that these homes be given to the Palestinian Arabs who emigrate. I am informed by this source that Jordan is a welfare state that guarantees housing to all citizens. Jordan will start with building an extra 500,000 units to accommodate the influx of citizens. Thus, this too will induce many Palestinian Arabs to emigrate to Jordan.
It should be made clear that Israel will not be party to or countenance forced ethnic cleansing.
There is also talk about joint military planning between Israel and Jordan. In effect Jordan military will become an extension of the IDF. Jordan may also be the buyer of the 100 F-16s that Israel now wishes to sell.
UNRWA will be scuttled. The Palestinian "refugees" in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq will be invited to move to Jordan - or any Arab or other country that will accept them - as full citizens, thereby ending their refugee status.
As Greenblatt said, the Palestinian Arabs and the Israelis must decide, “Will we be better off with this plan or continuing without it?” I believe, on balance, that both the Israelis and the Palestinians will accept the Plan. The Israelis hunger for an end of conflict agreement and the Palestinian Arabs are sick and tired of living under the corrupt oppressive PA or Hamas rule. They are hungry for change and normalization.
As for the Arab world, Greenblatt said, “We’re also hopeful that we can count on their support, and I use the word ”support” rather than “approval”. Thus, he doesn’t expect them to publicly accept the Plan but he does expect them to not undermine its acceptance.
Both Abbas and King Abdullah have publicly rejected any such plan. Assuming no change of heart on their part, they will be replaced.
Conventional wisdom has it that Israel would never agree to ousting Abdullah. After all, as the theory goes, the border has been quiet for 30 years. But increasingly, Israel sees Abdullah as an obstructionist just like Abbas. I think that Israel is ready for change, especially if change leads to a resolution of the conflict.
Conventional wisdom also suggests that if Mudar Zahran becomes the leader of Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood, whose world headquarters is in Jordan, would oust him from power within hours. In this, I believe it is wrong. Within the said hours, Zahran can designate it a terrorist organization and ban it. In this, he would have the support of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Israel and the US.
.This would then truly be the Deal of the Century.
Ted Belman is the Editor of Israpundit.com which he started 16 years ago. Together with Mudar Zahran, he spear-headed the plan, in the spring of 2017, to replace King Abdullah, as the leader of Jordan, with Mudar Zahran, the Head of the Jordan Opposition Coalition. This plan was dubbed the Jordan Option.. Many if not all the principles set out in the plan are reflected in the Deal of the Century.