This peace plan comes with a map, why is this significant? – Analysis

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What is significant, is that this is the first time any plan has come with an actual map.

One of the landmarks of US President Donald Trump’s diplomatic plan that was introduced Tuesday night is that it presents an actual map – a map that shows how the US administration envisions Israel’s final boundaries. This marks the first time any American Mideast plan has come with a map.

Maps have been talked about, maps have been suggested, maps have been drawn up and shown in private meetings. But during the Oslo negotiations, and at Camp David between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat, no formal, clear maps delineating Israel’s future borders and the borders of a future Palestinian state were presented to the public.

In one famous case, then prime minister Ehud Olmert unveiled a formal map in 2008 during a private meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that showed he was willing to withdraw to borders very similar to the 1967 lines, with land inside Israel to be swapped to the Palestinians in return for Israel’s annexation of large settlement blocs.

Under Olmert’s plan, Israel would cede more than 94% of the West Bank and compensate the Palestinians on almost a one-to-one basis for the remaining 6%. Israel would also withdraw from the Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem and put the Temple Mount and Old City under international control.

Olmert showed Abbas the map of this plan but would not give it to him, and the Palestinian leader sketched it from memory on a napkin after the meeting. That “napkin map,” revealed in 2013, was the closest thing the country has seen to a formal proposal with the lines drawn clearly on a map.
Until Tuesday night.
The map that US President Donald Trump put out on Tuesday to accompany the “Deal of the Century” indicates that Israel will cede some 70% of Judea and Samaria.

Olmert’s map showing a willingness to cede 93.7% of the territory, and to compensate the Palestinians with 5.8% inside the Green Line, was never formally presented. Trump’s map now has been. With the presentation of the map, a significant line has been crossed and a barrier broken.

Some may argue that this is an American plan, and an American map, and therefore not binding on anyone. They are correct. But considering the very close cooperation between Jerusalem and Washington, and considering the input that Israel had in drawing up the plan, it is almost inconceivable that Trump would have presented this map without Jerusalem’s consent.

As one senior US official said, for the first time in the 52 years since the Six Day War, there is a map that indicates for all to see what Israel believes it can live with in the context of Palestinian state.

The presentation of a map does not a deal make, obviously, and there is no guarantee that there will be a Palestinian state. But if there ever is one, this map shows the territory that Israel feels it can live with within the context of that state. It shows, for the first time, the territory Israel feels is vital for it to retain in a situation where it cedes land to the Palestinians to separate from them