Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, June 26, 2018:
A think-tank with close ties to the Trump administration is circulating on Capitol Hill and elsewhere a new comprehensive plan on how the White House can foster Israeli-Palestinian peace following President Trump’s landmark decision to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to the country’s capital city of Jerusalem, according to a copy of the plan viewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Security Studies Group, or SSG, a foreign policy organization with close ties to top Trump administration officials, is seeking to garner support for the White House’s latest push to foster peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The plan presents a roadmap the administration can follow to achieve a two state solution for the parties.
Officials are focused on pressuring the Palestinian Authority government to rein in its support for terrorism and accept a good faith offer that could alter the regional balance for both the Israeli and Palestinian people, sources said.
Those who have reviewed the plan told the Free Beacon that SSG is laying the groundwork to counter the Obama administration’s efforts to pressure Israel into accepting a plan many said would compromise the Jewish state’s security. “This is the first comprehensive survey of what the diplomatic terrain looks like now that Trump has reversed many of Obama’s anti-Israel moves,” said one senior GOP congressional staffer familiar with the paper. “American diplomats have a range of new opportunities but also new challenges, because the Palestinians got used to having America slap around Israel for them, and since we’re now back in the business of supporting Israel they’ve been throwing a global temper tantrum and holding their breath until they turn purple.”
“This study lays out a lot of that, including what more can to be done to reverse the anti-Israel UN resolution Obama’s diplomats generated,” the source said.
In addition to outlining multiple failed attempts by past administrations to ink a peace plan, SSG’s paper provides a fresh pathway forward for the Trump administration on the heels of its decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a move met with fanfare in Israel but with consternation by many Arab nations.
The paper, authored by Middle East expert Matthew RJ Brodsky, recommends the Palestinians be given the entirety of the Gaza Strip and around 96 percent of the territory linked to it by the West Bank.
The West Bank would subsequently be annexed by Israel by up to 10 percent to account for housing communities and other territory where Israelis have been living for decades. This would include critical land points such as the corridors along the Jordan Valley, according to the plan.
The plan also addresses the refugee issue, which has been a sticking point for some time as Israel seeks to retain the Jewish nature of its country. Accepting a mass wave of Palestinians into the country would fundamentally alter Israel’s population composition.
“The establishment of an independent Palestinian state will provide a national homeland for all Palestinians, including the refugees, and thereby bring an end to the historic Palestinian refugee issue and the assertion of any claims against Israel arising from it,” according to the plan.
Palestinian citizens would be permitted to resettle in a new Palestinian state or continue living in their host countries or other locales that would accept them. Israel would also be pressed to accept Palestinians for humanitarian reasons.
Jerusalem would remain Israel’s undivided capital city under the plan.
“This is a monograph that details the evolution of the conflict’s core issues and tracks their treatment in the three previous U.S.-led negotiating efforts that led to offers to end the dispute,” SSG said in a statement to the Free Beacon. “Entitled, ‘Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,’ the SSG also offers what it believes could serve as a negotiating framework for a final status agreement that meets the goal of two states for two peoples with a Palestinian state for Palestinians alongside a secure state of Israel recognized as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
Brodsky, the report’s author, told the Free Beacon that the Palestinians must be convinced to abandon violence and come to the negotiating table in earnest.
“The bottom line is that the Palestinian Authority needs to get a handle on its mythology, come to the table, and accept a reasonable statehood offer,” Brodsky said. “It will be good for the Palestinian people, the Israelis, and the region. For far too long they have not been honest with their own people, let alone themselves. The peace process isn’t like a fine bottle of wine that improves with age.”
“Each time they turn toward violence and away from the negotiating table, they spoil their future prospects,” he said. “Luckily, America’s regional allies recognize this and can hopefully provide some direction should [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas find himself lost in his own rhetoric again.”
The White House and State Department did not respond to requests for comment on the progress in peace talks over the past months.