Just days after announcing it, Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan appeared dead by Monday evening after the Arab world’s two most influential organisations rejected it as “biased”.
While Israeli leaders welcomed it, the final death knell for the deal sounded on Monday, after the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said it was inadequate. Two days earlier, the Arab League did the same.
The White House needed regional powers such as Saudi Arabia to back the plan, unveiled by Trump last week in Washington alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the Palestinian Authority having already rejected it.
Yet just days after Trump’s announcement, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the kingdom could not support a deal that did not have East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.
His comments came as the OIC said Trump’s plan “does not meet the minimum aspirations and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and contradicts the terms of reference of the peace process”.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would now be cutting all ties to Israel, including security cooperation, as Trump’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner, who drew up the plan, tried desperately to keep it alive.
The deal offers the Palestinians a limited demilitarised state only if and when the US and Israel judge that it has achieved “a free press, free elections, guarantees of religious freedom, an independent judiciary and financial institutions that are as good, transparent and as effective as in the western world”. Commentators pointed out that few if any Arab states would currently pass such a test.
Despite the onerous terms and lack of inducement, Trump’s team still believed that they had Arab support, with representatives from Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in attendance at the unveiling, but the stark rejection from the OIC, which represents 1.5 billion Muslims, and the Arab League proves otherwise.
Warning that the deal could be the last one offered to the Palestinians, Trump called for all settlements and the Jordan Valley to come under Israeli sovereignty, with Jerusalem the undivided Israeli capital.