No one is holding their breath in the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem or in the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah ahead of the expected presentation of US President Donald Trump’s “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians expected shortly after the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
The US deal is supposed to focus on resolving the status of the lands Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War on its eastern front. But a schism lies between the opening positions of Israelis and Palestinians, which has widened during the long years of stalled negotiations between them. The Palestinians insist negotiations be based on the armistice line with Jordan drawn up in April 1949 following Israel’s War of Independence, to which the sides adhered until June 5, 1967. The Palestinians claim that after being forced to give up 78% of Mandatory Palestine to make way for the establishment of Israel, they should get the remaining 22% that Israel conquered in the 1967 Six Day War. Israel’s ruling party, the Likud, objects to the very idea of establishing a Palestinian state. The political center and the center-leaning left are willing to make do with “settlement blocs” in the West Bank that would remain in Israeli hands.