US security chief: Aliyah surge could make two-state solution impossible
If the Palestinians accept the plan, “Palestine could become the Singapore of the Middle East,” O’Brien stated.
The Palestinians should adopt the Trump peace plan because Jews are moving to Israel as a result of global antisemitism, which could make a two-state solution unlikely, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said.
“The Israeli birthrate is strong, and sadly, because of antisemitism, Jews are returning to Israel,” O’Brien said in a threat assessment briefing on Wednesday to an audience of ambassadors and State Department officials. “If the [settlement] freeze doesn’t hold and peace process doesn’t work, it may be physically impossible to have a two-state solution for the Israelis and Palestinians in the not too distant future.”
The freeze O’Brien referred to was a stipulation of the Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan that differs from past settlement freezes, in that it would allow Israel to build freely within existing settlements, but not beyond them.
O’Brien implied the rate of Diaspora Jews moving to Israel would spur significant settlement expansion.
More than 255,000 immigrants moved to Israel in the last decade, according to the Jewish Agency. Aliyah numbers rose steadily in the last four years, but before that, there were ups and downs. In 2019, approximately 34,000 immigrants arrived, and in 2018, 30,403 people immigrated to Israel, an 18% increase. But the 2018 figure is only a 5% increase from 2017, when 29,509 came. Russia is the country from which the most immigrants (66,800) arrived in the past decade, followed by Ukraine (45,670), France (38,000) and the US (32,000).
If the Palestinians accept the plan, then “Palestine could become the Singapore of the Middle East,” O’Brien stated.
O’Brien said the proposal is “probably not a perfect plan” for the Palestinians, but that they should negotiate the points that are problematic for them.
“They don’t like the lines in the map… they need more money for economic development, those are things that could be on the table in negotiations, but until we get them sitting down together, it’s difficult for the Palestinians to get what they want.”
He expressed hope that the Palestinians would accept the plan “instead of keeping their people, especially in Gaza, in just grinding poverty and no future. They’re at a crossroads and I hope they take the high road.”
O’Brien added that he was encouraged by positive reactions from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Egypt.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on the phone to discuss the Trump administration’s peace plan.
Johnson said he supports “US efforts,” but reiterated, “The UK’s longstanding view on the importance of a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both sides, and our opposition to the unilateral annexation of territory,” the UK Foreign Office’s readout stated.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu congratulated Johnson on Brexit, and that they discussed the Trump plan, but did not mention the UK prime minister’s opposition to annexation.
Both sides’ statements said they would work to promote trade between Israel and the UK.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on the phone to discuss the Trump administration's peace plan.
Johnson said he supports "US efforts," but reiterated "the UK's longstanding view on the importance of a two state solution, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both sides, and our opposition to the unilateral annexation of territory," the UK Foreign Office's readout stated.
The Prime Minister's Office said Netanyahu congratulated Johnson on Brexit, and that they discussed the Trump plan, but did not mention the UK prime minister's opposition to annexation.
Both sides' statements said they would work to promote trade between Israel and the UK.
Lahav Harkov February 6, 2020