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US officials say Trump plan calls for Palestinian state, settlement freeze

US officials say President Donald Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan calls for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in portions of East Jerusalem, ending speculation as to whether his administration, in preparing a proposal without input from Palestinian leaders, would abandon a “two-state resolution” to the conflict.

The officials say the plan more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control, although it also recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, something to which the Palestinians will almost certainly object.

A view overlooks the West Bank settlement of Ari’el, January 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Palestinians have already rejected the proposal, accusing Trump of being biased in favor of Israel as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at their expense.

The plan does call for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Trump’s announcement.

However, it is not immediately clear if the freeze could be extended if a final deal is not concluded in the four years.

— AP

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