TEL AVIV Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom on Tuesday leaked details of an alleged document that was part of Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, which was circulated between officials in Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Middle East Eye could not independently verify the content of the leaked document, whose source was anonymous.
Israel Hayom said that some of the terms of the document have been mentioned by President Trump’s Middle East advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner and his advisor on Israel, Jason Greenblatt, in their informal talks with Israeli officials.
The newspaper is close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who maintains an amicable relationship with Trump, Kushner and Greenblatt.
According to the leaked document, the deal will be signed by three parties: Israel, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Hamas movement that governs the besieged Gaza Strip.
A Palestinian state called “New Palestine” would be established on lands in the now-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip after the signing of the agreement. An election would be held after a year and Israel would start releasing Palestinian prisoners gradually over the course of three years.
The fate of Jerusalem
Regarding the fate of Jerusalem, which Trump’s administration recognised as the Israeli capital in December 2017 and where it moved the US embassy in May 2018, the document said the holy city would remain undivided but responsibilities would be shared between Israel and “New Palestine” – with Israel maintaining general control.
Palestinian residents in Jerusalem would be citizens of the Palestinian state, but the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem would remain in charge of matters related to land. “New Palestine” would pay taxes to the Israeli municipality and in return be in charge of education for Palestinians in the city.
The Palestinian population in Jerusalem is estimated to number around 435,000. Palestinian Jerusalemites currently hold permanent residency documents – which Israel can revoke if they live outside the city for a certain period of time – and are not qualified for any citizenship rights.
Since 1967, Palestinians have boycotted municipal elections, as they see them as a part and parcel of Israel’s occupation of the city.
The deal would maintain the status quo of holy sites in the city, and Jewish Israelis won’t be allowed to buy Palestinian houses and vice versa.
Meanwhile, Israeli settlements in the West Bank – which are deemed illegal under international law – would formally be recognised as part of Israel.
According to the document, Egypt will offer lands near the Gaza Strip for the “New Palestine” state to build an airport, factories and serve the commercial and agriculture sectors, without allowing Palestinians to reside on these lands.
The Egyptian lands to be included in the deal would be determined at a later date, with this part of the agreement to be implemented within five years following its signature.
A highway would be built 30 metres above ground across Israel to connect the now-isolated Gaza Strip and West Bank. China would pay 50 percent of the highway’s cost; South Korea, Australia, Canada, the US and EU would each pay 10 percent.
The leaked document indicated that the US, EU and unnamed Gulf states would fund and sponsor the deal, spending a total of $30bn – or $6bn per year – over the span of five years to fund projects in “New Palestine”.
According to the document, the US would pay 20 percent of the cost for such projects, or $1.2bn per year, the EU 10 percent, while the unnamed Gulf states would fund the lion’s share of 70 percent.
By comparison, the United States currently grants Israel $3.8 billion per year in military aid as part of a record-breaking ten-year deal signed in 2016.
“New Palestine” wouldn’t be allowed to create an army, only maintaining a police force. A protection treaty would be signed between Israel and “New Palestine” stating that the fledgling state would pay Israel to defend it from eventual foreign attacks. Arab states would also contribute to payments to Israel in exchange for New Palestine’s protection if needed.
Punishments and money
Once the deal is signed, Hamas – the de facto ruling party in Gaza and the main armed Palestinian resistance movement – would have to hand all its weapons, including personal weapons, to Egyptian authorities. Hamas figures would be compensated in return for their weapons and paid monthly salaries by Arab states.
The Gaza Strip’s borders would reopen to commerce with the outside world through Israeli terminals and crossings. Until a seaport and an airport are built on Palestinian lands, Palestinians would be able to use Israeli airports and seaports.
The leaked document stated that the PLO and Hamas would face “punishments” if they refused to sign the deal – saying that the US would cease to fund any and all projects benefitting Palestinians and would ask other parties to do so.
The US already cut all its funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, last year, and has also halted funding for Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem.
If the PLO signed the deal but Hamas and Islamic Jihad both refused, a war would be launched on the two Gaza-based organisations, with the US fully supporting Israel in its endeavour, the document reads.
If Israel refused to sign the deal, then the US would cease financial support, according to the document.