The problem of the Deal of the Century peace plan is that is realistic.
Americans and Israelis know that Israel would never give up for Jerusalem to be undivided under its control and sovereignty. The same for the major settlements in the West Bank, and also the same for Israel’s security considerations.
But it is also a given that Arab Palestinians should be released from Israel’s direct control. That control is not good for them and it is not good for Israel. Therefore the establishment of their State, with enormous financial and economic support to help it flourish, is an integral part of the plan’s success.
Where it poses a problem for Mahmood Abbas and his people is on several fronts. First of all, this plan basically goes straight to the expected outcome of negotiations, without going through the eternal back and forth of such negotiations. Going straight to the end game keeps Abbas from proclaiming victory and makes it tough to sell to his people who have been told and promised, for more than seventy years, that Israel will be brought to its knees.
Furthermore the plan would change the psychology of the Arab Palestinian leadership from complaining victims to constructive leaders, something most don’t want and are not prepared for.
That is where one element of the plan is genius. The Arab Palestinians are not being asked to accept the plan right away, but are given four years to negotiate the details. The more the people in the street get to see the real benefits of much better living conditions and the more some Arab neighbors help selling the plan, the more likely that the plan may indeed become the Deal of the Century.
The challenges are enormous, even for some Israelis, and even if Abbas and other of the Ramallah team come to accept the plan, there is little doubt that Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad will not. To counter their rejection, military measures alone are not sufficient, and people in the streets of the West Bank and Gaza must see the real and factual benefits of peace as well as real hope that their life and the lives of their children and grandchildren will be better.
Israel’s leadership must also understand the uniqueness of Trump’s plan. The next US President, whether in 2021 or 2025, may be a Democrat and may not be as pro Israel as Trump. From the view point of this plan, one should hope for Trump’s re-election later this year and it is on Israel’s shoulders to demonstrate that the outcome for Arab Palestinians will indeed be independence and a much better life. Israel should make every effort to convince Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf countries to sell the plan to the Arab Palestinians and to their own people.
Four years go by quickly, and if the plan fails, as it may well do, the world should see that Israel has done its part.