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Netanyahu, Trump plant land mine within peace initiative

The Blue and White party believes the land swap idea in the deal of the century is included in Donald Trump's peace plan for one reason: to trap Benny Gantz and create a rift between him and Israeli-Arab voters.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deliver joint remarks on a Middle East peace plan proposal in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts? - RC27PE93LVFU
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A clause somewhat buried in President Donald Trump’s deal of the century for Israeli-Palestinian peace, “lifted” from an obscure peace plan presented 15 years ago by Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman, has morphed into a time bomb or land mine waiting patiently for someone to step on it. Senior officials in the opposition Blue and White party tell Al-Monitor that this clause was deliberately inserted into the plan to drive a wedge within the center-left political camp, sabotage a possible political alliance between Blue and White and the Arab Joint List, and perhaps confront political hawk Liberman, the originator of the idea, with a dilemma.

Section four of the “Peace to Prosperity” plan, titled “Borders,” stipulates that “Land swaps provided by the State of Israel could include both populated and unpopulated areas.” It includes a list of Arab Israeli communities in Wadi Ara and the so-called “triangle” region, areas abutting the West Bank and inhabited by hundreds of thousands of Israel’s Arab citizens, as potential lands for a swap between Israel and a future Palestinian state. Trump’s plan further states that these areas were supposed to be handed over to the Kingdom of Jordan under terms of the 1949 Armistice Agreement following Israel’s War of Independence. They ended up under Israeli control due to security considerations that, according to the Trump blueprint, are no longer relevant. The presidential “vision contemplates the possibility, subject to agreement of the parties that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine,” adding that “these communities … largely self-identify as Palestinian.”

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