Trump Mideast plan cheers Israelis, angers Palestinians

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has unveiled his long-awaited Middle East plan.

President Donald Trump welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

It was celebrated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “vision for peace” but is likely to continue to be opposed by Palestinians who say it favors Israel and falls short of their goal of creating a viable independent state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says “a thousand no's” to the Mideast peace plan announced by President Donald Trump, which strongly favors Israel. Abbas says: “After the nonsense that we heard today we say a thousand no's to the Deal of The Century.” He said the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in east Jerusalem.

Trump’s plan calls for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in east Jerusalem while recognizing Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, something the Palestinians are unlikely to accept.

The plan was created without input from Palestinian leaders and they already had rejected it before the president unveiled it at the White House with Netanyahu by his side.

Presentation of the “two state solution” concept on Tuesday ended speculation that Trump might have abandoned consideration of an independent Palestine as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.

Though the plan would recognize Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, U.S. officials say it would more than double the territory currently under Palestinian control.

The plan also calls for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated.

It comes the day Trump’s impeachment trial continues in the Senate and the Israeli parliament planned a hearing to discuss Netanyahu’s request for immunity from criminal corruption charges.

Netanyahu withdrew that request Tuesday, saying he had “decided not to let this dirty game continue."

Netanyahu’s spokesman says the Israeli leader will ask his cabinet on Sunday to approve his plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

Jonathan Urich made the announcement on Twitter late Tuesday, shortly after Netanyahu joined Trump for the unveiling of a new U.S. peace plan.

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