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Trump Middle East peace plan calls for Palestinian state, settlement freeze

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has roundly rejected President Donald Trump's proposed 'vision for peace' in the Middle East.

President Donald Trump unveiled his administration’s much-anticipated Middle East peace plan in the latest American venture to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Odds of it taking shape appear long, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “a thousand no's” to the plan announced by Trump, which strongly favors Israel.  

“After the nonsense that we heard today we say a thousand no's to the Deal of The Century,” Abbas said.  

The plan would create a Palestinian state in parts of the West Bank, but would allow Israel to annex nearly all of its settlements in the occupied territory. The plan would also allow the Palestinians to establish a capital on the outskirts of east Jerusalem but would leave most of the city under Israeli control.

Trump presented the proposal alongside Netanyahu at Tuesday in Washington and called it his "vision for peace." 

Presentation of the “two state solution” concept ends speculation that Trump might have abandoned consideration of an independent Palestine as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.  

Trump called his administration's 80-page proposal the "most detailed proposal ever put forward by far.”

Trump said the plan would more than double the territory currently under Palestinian control, but it would recognize Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank. 

It also calls for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated. 

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“It’s been worked on by everybody, and we’ll see whether or not it catches hold. If it does, that would be great, and if it doesn’t, we can live with it, too. But I think it might have a chance,” Trump said alongside Netanyahu on Monday.

It comes the day Trump's impeachment trial continues in the Senate and the Israeli parliament planned a hearing to discuss Netanyahu’s request for immunity from criminal corruption charges. Netanyahu withdrew that request Tuesday, saying he had “decided not to let this dirty game continue." 

Netanyahu was indicted in a series of corruption cases, throwing Israel’s paralyzed political system into further disarray and threatening his 10-year grip on power. 

The first-ever charges against a sitting Israeli prime minister capped a three-year investigation, with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit indicting Netanyahu for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes.

The indictment does not require the 70-year-old Netanyahu to resign, but it significantly weakens him at a time when Israel’s political parties appear to be limping toward a third election in under a year.

He defiantly claimed the indictment stemmed from “false accusations” and a systematically “tainted investigation,” saying the country was witnessing an “attempted coup” against him.

The proposal is expected to be favorable for Israel, with a key element being whether the proposal includes an American approval for Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Netanyahu has called for annexing parts of the West Bank and declaring Israeli sovereignty on all settlements there ahead of the country's March 2 election. 

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