(Jerusalem, Israel) — Historic. Dramatic. Highly controversial. And full of surprises. That’s how I’d characterize the roll out of the so-called “Deal of the Century.”
EXCLUSIVE FIRST ARAB REACTION: Just received a text from a senior Arab Muslim official in the region who was watching the White House event live in his home country.
- Called it a “very smart introduction to the Deal of the Century.”
- Liked that President Trump is “mentioning the two states and sending a caring message to the Palestinians.”
- Said “there is a need to gain the hearts and the minds of the general Palestinian people — they don’t see any future for themselves right now.”
Okay, some facts, then some analysis:
- Here’s the full 181-page plan — including first detailed maps ever released.
- President Trump called plan “win-win” with a “realistic” plan and pathway for “two states.” Called Israel a “light to the nations,” referencing Scripture. Said the Palestinian people deserve better than they have.
- President said Israel will control the Jordan Valley, keep all its settlements in Judea and Samaria and have “full security.” Said: “All humanity should be able to enjoy the glories of the Holy Land. This part of the world is forever connected to the human soul and the human spirit. These ancient lands should not be symbols of conflict, but eternal symbols of peace.”
- Israel gets a lot of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) — but the Palestinians are compensated with large new tracts of territory in the Negev, near Egyptian border. (see map)
- Plan will create a Palestinian state which can be achieved if Palestinians “renounce terror” — won’t allow return to bombings and violence. Wants “very capable” Palestinians to have better lives, because “that’s only fair.”
- Jerusalem will be Israel’s undivided capital.
- However, President added Palestinians will have capital in East Jerusalem and U.S. will have Embassy there.
- President added that Jerusalem is already “liberated.” Said it’s “time for the Muslim world to fix the mistake it made in 1948 when it decided to attack Israel — it’s time.”
- U.S. and Arab states ready to invest $50 billion in new Palestinian economy to create jobs and hope.
- President worries this may be Palestinians “last chance” for state.
- President spoke highly of Jordan’s King Abdullah II — “a very good man” — with whom the U.S. wants to work. Added that U.S. will work to “maintain status quo” to “protect the holy sites,” including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
- Even while speaking of Israel’s “rich Biblical history,” President Trump gave a warm and very special “thank you” to the ambassadors of Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates for coming to the unveiling the White House peace plan ceremony and for all they are doing to advance peace — this was historic for them to be there and very encouraging.
- Netanyahu fully endorsed the plan — raved about it, in fact. Said it will keep all Israelis safe. Said he’s ready to begin negotiations with Palestinian.
- Netanyahu stopped in mid-speech to give a shout-out to the ambassadors of the Gulf countries of Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates — men he clearly knows and has affection for — a dramatic and touching moment.
- Excellent roll out event.
- I was very happy that three Arab Ambassador’s were there — two of whom are dear friends — and that Trump and Bibi gave them very warm and special shout-outs and that they received thunderous applause. Incredibly important.
- Overall, most grassroots Evangelicals will be very happy because they trust Trump and because Bibi (and Gantz) are so positive about it.
- However, some Evangelical leaders don’t want any Palestinian state whatsoever — one of them is Pastor John Hagee. Given that there are 6 million members in his Christians United For Israel, he’s a major player. Hagee and others may be very unhappy about Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, as well.
- However, as I’ve been telling senior White House and State officials for months, these two points are vitally important. Why? Be square there’s no chance Abbas accepts this deal — but the two-state and East Jerusalem capital language makes it much easier for other Arab states to embrace the deal.
That’s enough for now. More later. Please keep praying for the peace of Jerusalem.
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The article originally appeared on Joel’s blog and reposted with permission.