Is Trump's Middle East peace plan any good?

US President Trump presented a Middle East peace plan on Tuesday. The proposal calls for a two-state solution with parts of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. At the same time, the legality of Jewish settlements in the West Bank would be accepted and Jerusalem would be recognised as the Israeli capital. Commentators ask whether there is any scenario in which the plan could be feasible.

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Hürriyet Daily News (TR) /

Palestinians must reach a consensus

Whether or not Trump's plan is put into practice does not depend on the approval of third parties, Hürriyet Daily News comments:

“The real problem appears to be somewhere else. Initial objections to or embracement of the plan by third parties might not mean much unless Palestinians develop a united position on it. The polarization of the Palestinian people between Hamas and Fatah (and others) is not conducive to any sort of serious peace talks. Is there any magical formula anywhere to establish peace among Palestinians?”

Kommersant (RU) /

A businessman's plan

The US president believes that peace in the Middle East is ultimately just a money matter, Kommersant comments:

“The idea is to attract billions of dollars in investment to Palestine, which will transform the Israel-hostile entity into a peaceful and prosperous area - whereupon the Palestinians, spoiled by their new life, will no longer want to return to their former isolation. If US allies in the region become sponsors of this new Marshall Plan for the Middle East, projects could emerge in the West Bank and Gaza that could change Palestinian lives beyond recognition. And then perhaps all the current problems will solve themselves. In short, the US President is convinced that the Palestinians' submission can be bought, and that the only question is the price.”

Cyprus Mail (CY) /

West Bank in exchange for desert

This plan is nothing but a scam, Cyprus Mail puts in:

“A markedly more outrageous aspect of the plan was that the main Jewish settlements on occupied territory, considered illegal under international law, would remain as this territory would come under Israeli sovereignty. In exchange for giving up 30 per cent of the West Bank, Palestinians would receive a big piece of desert! While Israel would get everything it wants, statehood for the Palestinians would be conditional on their leadership fighting terrorism, dismantling Hamas and ending incitement against Israel.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Perpetuating an untenable situation

The path to real negotiations has now been blocked for a long time to come, the Süddeutsche Zeitung fears:

“Now that the most powerful nation in the world has adopted the maximum demands of the Israeli right, no prime minister in Jerusalem will be able to deviate from these positions in the foreseeable future. That would require a fundamental change in Israel's political landscape, but there's no sign of that happening. ... For years, Netanyahu repeated that he would be willing to talk if the Palestinians waived all preconditions such as the freezing of settlements. Now he's flip-flopped and will be willing to negotiate if the Palestinians accept all the terms of Trump's plan. Otherwise the status quo, which is basically untenable, will continue, perhaps forever.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Arab countries will tip the scales

The fate of Trump's peace plan will be decided outside Israel and Palestine, Rzeczpospolita comments:

“It won't be Mahmoud Abbas or Hamas who decide the fate of the peace plan, but the solidarity of the Arab countries with the Palestinians. This, however, is fading. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates reacted cautiously to the agreement, but they didn't bury it. Egypt and Jordan, for their part, haven't signalled that they suddenly want to undermine cooperation with Israel. At this moment the Arab countries are looking to Washington in particular. The United States will decide who emerges victorious from the major struggle for dominance in the Middle East: Iran and its allies or Saudi Arabia and its Arab alliance.” (RU) /

Kremlin secretly wants to be a junior partner

In a Facebook post republished by, journalist Arkady Dubnov points out that the US is the only world power that can offer a peace plan:

“Only a country, a world policeman that doesn't give a hoot about international law, has the ambitions, the possibilities and the resources to explain its claim to a solution to the Middle East problem. ... Of course one can reject it, one can kick up a fuss and threaten the opponent with cartoons of nuclear missiles aimed at Florida - but one must still acknowledge that no one except this adversary has global plans, realistic or not, for creating peace. ... This is the reality of the situation. It's telling that Moscow's reaction to the plan was extremely cautious and full of a covert willingness to support it, provided its secret wish to be allowed to co-sponsor it is granted.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

At least there's a proposal on the table now

The Palestinians should at least take the time to study the 50-page-long plan in detail, Helsingin Sanomat advises:

“What sort of peace is this, presented by two politicians accused of committing crimes, and in which a key party in the conflict played no role? Nevertheless it would be good to sit down and read the plan, which at least to a certain extent promises the Palestinians the two-state solution they want. ... Not because Trump has demonstrated exceptional skills in international politics or because the plan appears mature or even extremely fair, but because it's the first plan that has been on the table for years.”

Kurier (AT) /

A humiliation for all Arabs

Trump's peace plan is a waste of time for the simple reason that the Palestinians played no role in drafting it, Kurier criticises:

“In his 'great and unsurpassed wisdom' (Trump's self-definition), Trump believes that he, at any rate, knows what's good for the Palestinians. Namely, what's good for Israel: a non-viable dwarf state under Israeli dominance, hemmed in by Jewish settlements. The plan is a humiliation for all Arabs. The chances of it ever being implemented are zero. What remains: a PR campaign for two troubled leaders - Trump is fighting against his deposition, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu against charges of corruption. The upshot is bitter indeed. Because after almost 75 years of bloodshed the people in the region finally deserve peace.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

A dream for Netanyahu

De Telegraaf also criticises the plan and sees it as a successful diversion:

“A look at the map shows the impracticability of the proposals. This is not a Palestinian state but an archipelago whose islets are connected by narrow paths. ... Now Netanyahu can begin with the annexation [of the occupied territories]. Until now the prime minister was afraid of the potential consequences. For example international sanctions or proceedings at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. With just about a month to go before the election, this is his last lifeline. He already has the first victory in his pocket. In Israel, nobody talks about his corruption trial any more - thanks to Trump, who despite his fine words is throwing the Palestinians to the wolves.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Enough of the pretending

Trump's brazen deal has some merits in spite of all the justified criticism, Le Temps notes:

“This plan is a scandal, a farce and an insult to reason. But if it were actually implemented it would also have a good side. After more than half a century of deception and pretences, it would finally clarify the situation in the Middle East. ... Enough of the mantra of 'two states living side by side'; enough of the Palestinian Authority, which has been useless for decades. ... Exposed in this way, the situation can be seen for what it really is: a Palestinian population that has de facto long since been 'annexed' and is bereft of sovereignty must now demand rights similar to those of the Israelis.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Arabs also applaud Trump

Commenting in La Repubblica, Middle East expert Bernardo Valli highlights the fact that Arab ambassadors were among those who applauded Trump and Netanyahu in the White House yesterday:

“Israel is no longer isolated in the Middle East. Although it does not always maintain diplomatic relations with them, Israel is on the side of the Sunnis, which is led by Saudi Arabia. ... The common and greatest enemy remains the Ayatollah regime in Iran. It supports (even though they are Sunnis) the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad - because they are enemies of Israel. The result is that the Arabs no longer support the Palestinians with full conviction. ... With his peace plan, Trump could therefore reshuffle the cards in the Middle East.”