US, Arab allies reportedly set to propose Palestinian statehood plan within weeks

Washington Post reports a blueprint, which includes a “firm timeline,” to achieve a pause on the fighting in Gaza. Right-wing ministers, citing October 7, reject this premise.

A report on Thursday said that the US and several Arab allies are preparing a plan for a comprehensive deal between Israel, and Palestinians, which includes a “firm timetable” for the creation of a Palestinian state. This report sparked immediate condemnation from members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet.

The Washington Post reported, citing US officials and Arab officials, that an announcement about the blueprint may come within the next few months, but the timing depends largely on Israel and Hamas reaching a ceasefire agreement to stop the fighting in Gaza.

The plan proposes steps that Israel previously refused. These include the evacuation of West Bank settlements and the establishment of a Palestinian capital at East Jerusalem, as well as a security apparatus and government combined for the West Bank, Gaza and the West Bank.

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According to the Post, the US and its Arab allies hope that security guarantees and normalization of relations with Arab countries like Saudi Arabia will convince Israel to accept the plan.

The Post reported that officials hoped to publish the plan once Israel and Hamas agreed to a temporary ceasefire aimed at allowing aid to Gaza and releasing the 134 hostages held by terror organizations in the Strip. The report states that during the pause steps will be taken to implement the proposal. This includes forming an interim Palestinian Government which could also govern Gaza.

US officials have been increasingly speaking of a truce that will end hostilities in Gaza. They cite Israel’s right to defend itself, which includes destroying Hamas.

Jake Sullivan, the US National Security Advisor, said on Wednesday that “we’re looking to create a temporary pause in order to work towards a more lasting solution.”

Hardline ministers of Israel’s government who oppose the creation of a Palestinian State have reacted with vehement disapproval. Finance Minister Bezalel SMOTRICK said he will demand that the high-level cabinet of security adopt a declaration rejecting the establishment a Palestinian State when they meet later on Thursday.

Smotrich wrote on X: “We will not agree under any circumstance to this plan which basically says that the Palestinians deserve a reward for the terrible massacres they committed against us. A Palestinian state with a Jerusalem capital,”

Amichai Chkli, Minister of Diaspora Affairs and a member Netanyahu’s Likud Party, suggested that the government respond by threatening the cancellation of the Oslo Accords. This was the agreement signed in the 1990s which led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu has spoken out in the past against the creation a Palestinian State. Others have also reacted to comments made by Washington and other countries suggesting that the talks to end the fighting in Gaza, sparked after Hamas’s brutal rampage in southern Israel on the 7th of October be used to kickstart the long-moribund effort to achieve a two state solution.

This attack, which saw 1,200 people killed in a flurry of murders, rapes and other atrocities, led by Hamas, the terror group that rules Gaza, while 253 others were taken hostage and held, has distilled the concerns about security Israelis have long cited to justify their opposition to a Palestinian state.

Many people in the international community believe that these attacks show the dangers inherent in continuing to let Israel-Palestinian conflicts fester.

“After the 7th of October, it’s clearer than ever before that it’s forbidden to grant them a State. According to Ynet, National Security Minister Itamar Gvir responded to the Post’s report by saying that no Palestinian state would be created while he was in government. The extreme right firebrand called it “delusional” and accused Washington, as well as others involved in the plan, of trying to “establish an terror state alongside State of Israel.”

The US and other countries have been warning Israel against expanding its ground operation in Gaza, to Rafah where half the Strip’s 2 million population has taken refuge.

According to The Post, those who support the plan, such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as representatives of the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are concerned that an IDF offensive on the ground in Gaza’s Rafah could derail any peace process.

Netanyahu said Friday that, despite the dangers to civilians in the area, he ordered the Israeli army to submit a plan for the war cabinet to evacuate the civilians of the city and destroy the remaining Hamas battalions.

Israel believes that it can’t effectively weaken Hamas unless Rafah is taken, which lies on Gaza’s border with Egypt. Some of the remaining 134 hostages in Gaza may be found in Rafah. On Monday, two Israeli hostages were rescued from captivity by special forces in Rafah during a bombardment which killed dozens.

Mahmoud Abubas, President of the Palestinian Authority, called on Hamas Wednesday to reach a quick agreement with Israel to stop the fighting. He warned that failure to achieve this could lead to a new “nakba”, or catastrophe in Rafah.