The US and Taliban sign agreement meant to end America’s longest war

“Since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001, the US government has spent $2 trillion on the conflict, in which 3,500 American and NATO coalition troops have been killed and tens of thousands of Afghans have died.

The new agreement would put an end to that conflict, and includes a requirement that the Taliban find lasting peace with the Afghan government in exchange for the full withdrawal of troops — a requirement not present in all past versions of the deal.”

Jared Kushner, architect of Trump’s Middle East peace plan, still doesn’t get it

“About 500,000 Israelis live in the settlements, of which there are about 130 scattered around the West Bank. Roughly 75 percent of settlers live on or near the West Bank border with Israel. Some of the settlements are vast communities that house tens of thousands of people and look like suburban developments. Some look like hand-built shanty outposts.

Settlements create what Israelis and Palestinians call “new facts on the ground.” Palestinian communities are split apart and their connection to the land weakened, while Jewish communities put down roots in territory meant for Palestinians.

In effect, it shrinks the area of land left available for any future Palestinian state to exist on and chops it up into pieces, destroying its potential viability as a real, contiguous state. For some settlers, this is the point: They want the West Bank fully incorporated as Israeli territory and are trying to make that happen.”

“Instead of coming up with a plan that would see those settlers relocated or finding some other solution, Kushner’s plan just takes the huge chunk of land where most of the settlements are located and gives it to Israel. In return, Palestinians get some pockets of land far away in the desert on the border with Egypt and not much else.”

Trump’s Israel-Palestine peace plan, explained

“There’s a lot to this document, but there are four major elements of the new political proposal in particular you need to know about: 1) Israel keeps the vast majority of Jerusalem as its sovereign capital; 2) Palestinians get no right of return; 3) it redraws borders mainly between Israel and the West Bank; and 4) doesn’t allow for Palestine to create a fighting force to defend itself.”

Trump’s Israel-Palestine “peace plan” is a con

“The president released the long-awaited political framework of his “Peace to Prosperity” plan on Tuesday afternoon after a White House ceremony featuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The proposal is missing a signature feature of every prior peace plan: a path to a viable Palestinian state. It divides up the Palestinian territories and surrounds them by Israel, and gives Israel total control over Palestinian security — allowing a future Palestinian government to exercise full control over its own land only when Israel deems it acceptable. It’s a kind of state-minus: a Palestine without much of its land and subservient to Israel for basic functions.

“Trump can try to make this a Palestinian state by calling it a state. But it ain’t ever gonna whistle,” writes Tamara Cofman Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy.

Needless to say, the Palestinians cannot and will not agree to such humiliation, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has already ruled it out.”

“the Palestinians didn’t even have a role in writing the plan: It was put together primarily by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, in consultation with the Israeli government. The notion that this is a good-faith effort to make peace is laughable.”

“it doesn’t seem like an accident that the plan was released on the same day that Israel’s attorney general formally indicted Netanyahu on bribery and corruption charges.”

“Prior to the Trump plan, the basic framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations had been relatively fixed. There would be two states, with the Palestinians taking control of the overwhelming bulk of the Palestinian-populated West Bank and Gaza Strip, and with Israel largely retreating to its current internationally recognized borders.

The two sides would come to agreement on thorny issues like which Israeli settlements in the West Bank could become part of Israel, and how exactly to share Jerusalem (a holy city for Judaism and Islam that both sides claim as their capital).

The Trump plan pretty much throws out this framework entirely.

Instead of allowing the two sides to negotiate solutions to these core disagreements, the plan lays out a detailed vision for final terms before negotiations have even begun.”

“Such a land grab would force Israel down one of two dangerous one-state paths.

Option one would be to give the vote to Palestinians and make them full citizens of Israel, leading to an Arab demographic majority and thus ending Israel’s status as a Jewish state. This is not only a recipe for violence between Muslims and Jews but also unacceptable to Israel’s current leadership, who care much more about the state’s Jewish character than its democratic one.

The other option is indefinite Israeli rule over Palestinians without granting them citizenship. There’s a word for keeping an ethnically defined part of your population in permanent second-class citizenship: apartheid.”

What will Palestinians do now?

“In diplomatic terms, it’s dead. Once the Palestinians and the Arab states take a clear position, then the Europeans will follow suit, and the Russians would come on board, and in the end we’re likely going to end up with a plan that is only truly supported by the US and Israel, and maybe some marginal countries.”