National Security

Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Attracts Much-Doubted Arab Support

A view of the wall separating East Jerusalem from the Palestinian village of Abu Dis
A view of the wall separating East Jerusalem from the Palestinian village of Abu Dis / Getty Images

The Trump administration's recently unveiled Middle East peace plan has gained unlikely support from a number of typically anti-Israel nations.

Since revealing the comprehensive plan earlier this week, the Trump administration has won backing for its peace effort from several Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Top administration officials view the scope of early Arab support as a win.

"No other peace plan or proposal for ending this conflict has ever had this kind of backing from the Arab world," one senior administration official, speaking only on background about the developing situation, told the Washington Free Beacon. "It's clear the region considers this a serious and thoughtful proposal, and they're encouraging the Palestinians to negotiate on its basis."

While the support from Arab nations is unprecedented, the plan faces many obstacles. Palestinian leaders have rejected the administration's proposal, and experts have criticized what they see as a piecemeal and impractical blueprint for the future Palestinian state. Other critics have dismissed the deal as dead on arrival given the lack of political momentum.

As Palestinian factions riot in response to the plan, top Trump administration officials hope pressure from Arab allies could generate enough momentum to push the Palestinian side into reconsidering its stance.

"This is historic and truly significant," the senior administration official said of Arab backing of the plan. "President Trump has put an offer on the table for the Palestinians to have a state of their own, he's gotten the Israelis to agree to negotiate on the basis of our plan, and now he's given the Palestinian leadership unprecedented support and encouragement from the region to bring them to the negotiating table."

Administration officials said Israel has already accepted the proposal for a Palestinian state, which would grant the Palestinians more than double the amount of land they currently reside on. Israel also has agreed to a four-year freeze on construction in disputed territories.

The president of FIFA, soccer's international governing body, which has massive reach in the Middle East, also signaled unlikely support for the deal.

"I definitely welcome all efforts that are made to ensure that peace in the Middle East becomes reality. It is important that we all believe in peace in the Middle East, in peace between Israel and Palestine. And it is important that we all work hard towards that objective and towards giving hope and joy to millions of people in the Middle East," FIFA president Gianni Infantino told the Free Beacon.

Thus far, nearly 30 countries have offered their support for the plan, sources said. In addition to the major Arab nations, early support has come from the European Union, U.K., France, and several Latin American nations, including Honduras, Chile, Colombia, and Brazil.

However, there is no shortage of critics who accuse the Trump administration of pandering to Israel and ignoring the Palestinians' plight.

"At first glance, the plan appears to have an air of reasonability. It talks of a ‘realistic two-state solution' to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pledges an unprecedented $50 billion in investment, and even mentions the words ‘Palestinian capital' and ‘Jerusalem' in the same sentence," wrote Khaled Elgindy, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, in a recent piece for Foreign Policy magazine. "Beyond the thin veneer of acceptability, however, is a far more insidious program that is designed to do away with a genuine two-state solution while normalizing permanent Israeli occupation and annexation within a de facto one-state reality."

Furthermore, support for the plan domestically has been split down party lines, with Democrats describing the plan as worthless and Republicans praising Trump for supporting Israel's security needs.