Mr. Trump, Here’s How You Can Make the Deal that Can’t Be Made

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When Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States, most people believed -- some joyfully, some fearfully -- that this is the end of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They anticipate a tsunami of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with the blessing of the new US administration, which would make it no longer feasible to draw a demarcation line separating the two nation-states between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

A burial like this of the two-state solution would likely bring about a desperate, violent reaction by the Palestinians in the West Bank for whom the option of a viable state of their own would be erased forever.

Surprisingly, in an interview in the Wall Street Journal published November 11, President-elect Trump called the Israel-Palestine conflict “the war that never ends,” and said he hoped to help craft a resolution between the parties. “That’s the ultimate deal,” Mr. Trump declared. “As a deal maker, I’d like to do…the deal that can’t be made.”

At a time when the end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state is in sight, Mr. Trump’s declaration offers a glimmer of hope.

Today, Jews comprise 52% of the population that lives between the sea and the river. By 2020 that percentage will decrease. And in our region, Syria and Iraq provide gruesome examples of what happens in a country where an ethnic minority rules a majority. Fortunately we are not there yet. Not yet.

The status quo cannot be sustained. Something must be done, and Mr. Trump’s “ultimate deal” is feasible -- if he offers Israelis security and the Palestinians sovereignty, along the lines of the following package.

· A Palestinian state that will be internationally recognized immediately, but its sovereignty in its final borders will occur in a five-year process.

· Boundaries based on 1967 borders, but 4% of the West Bank territory will be annexed to Israel, swapped for same size of territory given up by Israel. The 4% figure is exactly midway between the proposals of then Israeli Prime Minister Olmert (6%) and Palestinian President Abbas (2%) when they negotiated in 2008. The new border will be drawn in such a way that the 4% will include the maximum possible number of ||Israeli settlers.

· Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem serving as the capital of the Palestinian state.

· Demilitarization of the Palestinian state.

· Security arrangements that will provide Israel protection against threats from east of the Jordan River and prevent smuggling of terrorists and weapons to and from the west Bank. Several such security plans have already been drafted -- some of them, American; some Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinians. I personally was involved in their preparation, and, as a former Israeli general, I am convinced that their principles meet Israel's security requests and needs.

· A defense treaty signed by Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan. Such an alliance will be a strong and united front against Iran, which gets more aggressive in its quest for regional hegemony. By combining the economic strength of Saudi Arabia and UAE, the military strength of Egypt, and the technological excellence of Israel, it will alter the regional balance of power. It will diminish the need for active US military involvement in the region. And Israel will be safer as a partner in this defense treaty.

· An international fund of the rich and oil-producing countries financing a regional effort, over a 5-year period, to provide the Palestinian refugees a future of prosperity and dignity and assist Israel’s relocation of thousands of settler families, in a decent way.

This package is the possible alternative to the nightmare of “the war that never ends” between two communities living mixed with each other in one state. I hope he will put such a package deal together and that it will not be rejected by the political leaders of the two peoples.