Israeli President at German Parliament: Trump's Peace Plan Requires Big Concessions

'We can't give up,' Rivlin urges Palestinians and Israelis at ceremony in Berlin to commemorate the victims of Nazi Germany

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin applauded after his speech at the German parliament in Berlin, January 29, 2020.
MICHELE TANTUSSI/ REUTERS

President Reuven Rivlin addressed the unveiling of U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan on Wednesday, during in a speech he made at the German parliament. 

In his speech, Rivlin expressed hope that the plan will lead to renewed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians: "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has turned a long time ago into a tragedy. But, as other crises were resolved in the world, I'm convinced that this conflict, too, can be ended."

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The Israeli president, who made his address in Hebrew at a memorial for the victims of Nazi Germany, added: "Last night we witnessed moments that can bring a lot of hope. After long years of political stagnation, President Trump presented a plan that can allow the two people to renew the channels of conversation and advance toward a joint future." 

The president also addressed concessions that the plan requires of both sides, and called on both Israel and the Palestinians to study it in depth: "This is a plan that requires deep, difficult and complex concessions of both sides, but we can't give up, because those who give up are giving up the chance, and I refuse to give up." 

"The future of the Middle East, and the integration of Israel in this space, depend on building that trust," he went on. "True, the relations between Israel and the Palestinians aren't symmetrical. The strength of the State of Israel turns us in the eyes of many into Goliath, and the Palestinians into David. We are not David, nor are they Goliath. We are not Goliath and they are not David. The strength and perseverance of Israel throughout the years have been, and remain, the key to peace and not an obstruction on the path to peace." 

According to the blueprint, which has been dubbed "The Deal of the Century," a demilitarized Palestinian state will be established and Israel will retain security control over the West Bank. Trump had declared that Jerusalem won't be divided and will be defined as the Israeli capital, while the Palestinian capital will be at Abu Dis – a neighborhood beyond the security barrier in the east of the city – where an American embassy will be established. Jews will also be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. The U.S. president said that his plan will solve the Palestinian issue of statehood and give Israel security, making it a "win-win" situation for both sides. 

The plan also offers land swap at the western part of the Negev, so areas under Israeli control will be transferred to Palestinian control. The plan also proposes a possible relocation of Arab communities in the so-called Triangle area (adjacent to the Green Line) to the Palestinian state. According to Trump, the map that will be established could double the territory belonging to Palestinians. He  vowed that no Palestinian or Israeli will be uprooted from their homes. In addition, a committee will be established whose role will be cultivating a detailed map that will serve as the basis for negotiations.