Trump’s Israel-Palestine plan doomed: Baker Institute

The White House’s peace plan all but assures the denial of Palestinian statehood, and may further alienate Israel from the international community, a Baker Institute expert says. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 23 May 2020

Trump’s Israel-Palestine plan doomed: Baker Institute

  • Report: ‘Palestinian statehood conditioned upon unreasonable, impractical thresholds’

LONDON: The White House’s peace plan all but assures the denial of Palestinian statehood, and may further alienate Israel from the international community, according to a new report by the Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Under the plan, “Palestinian statehood is conditioned upon a compilation of unreasonable and impractical thresholds,” wrote Gilead Sher, fellow in Middle East peace and security at the institute and a former Israeli government official. 

“Given the total absence of Palestinian involvement in planning and implementing the deal, the current deal has no way of serving as is as a driver to resolving the conflict,” he said.

“Instead, it will further blur the borders between two states, as the Israeli right wing looks to ensure a continued presence in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).”

The US plan, unveiled by President Donald Trump on Jan. 28, envisions a disjointed Palestinian state that turns over key parts of the West Bank to Israel.

The plan also sides with Israel on key contentious issues including borders, the status of Jerusalem and Jewish settlements.

The proposal offers Palestinians “little more than they already have,” and could “lead Israel down a perilous path to international demonization and social upheaval,” Sher wrote.

The plan not only creates problematic borders, but creates friction by “further entangling mixed populations,” he added.

Though the plan abandons the parameters of previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and lacks coherent policy, Sher believes it will continue to sit on the table for years to come.

But, he said, it will fail without significant Israeli restraint, complete resequencing and resourceful Palestinian initiative.

The Palestinian Authority, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have all rejected the plan.


‘Provocative’ Erdogan to drill for oil off Libya

Updated 31 May 2020

‘Provocative’ Erdogan to drill for oil off Libya

  • Turkey claims an agreement gives it the right to explore for oil and gas in an exclusive economic zone

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to create a “fait accompli” over rights to natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean by drilling off the coast of Libya, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

Ankara’s announcement that it intends to activate last year’s maritime borders agreement with the Libyan government in Tripoli has brought simmering tensions to the boil.   

Turkey claims the agreement gives it the right to explore for oil and gas in an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between its southern coast and Libya’s northeastern coast. However, Greece, Cyprus and the EU say the deal is illegal. Turkey may also face EU sanctions over drilling in Cypriot territorial waters.

Ankara has not said exactly where it will drill, but experts told Arab News they expect exploration activities to begin off Tripoli in the short term, and then near to the coastal city of Sirte.

“From a tactical point of view, Turkey may test the scenario of a crisis with Athens where escalation takes place and then, in the context of de-escalation, the two countries would have to discuss and negotiate their positions,” said Zenonas Tziarras, a researcher at PRIO Cyprus Centre.

Mona Sukkarieh, a political risk consultant and co-founder of Middle East Strategic Perspectives, said: “If we take Turkish operations off the Cypriot coast as an indicator, operations off the Libyan coast might start off on the less provocative part of the spectrum and grow bolder with time toward the more provocative part of the spectrum.

“The objective is to demonstrate a resolute determination in order to extract concessions or, at the very least, to impose itself as a player to reckon with.”