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Treasury yields fall as investors digest US-China partial trade deal



The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell about 7 basis points to around 1.824%, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also lower at around 2.255%.

China and the U.S. have reached an agreement on text of a phase one trade deal and will now move toward signing a deal as quickly as possible, Chinese officials said Friday.

President Donald Trump said Friday that Washington will not charge Beijing with any new tariffs.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative confirmed that the U.S. will be maintaining 25% tariffs on approximately $250 billion of Chinese imports, along with 7.5% tariffs on approximately $120 billion of Chinese imports.

Washington and Beijing have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.

Market participants are also likely to monitor a speech from New York Fed President John Williams on Friday. The U.S. central bank policymaker is expected to comment on monetary policy, shortly after the Fed decided to keep interest rates unchanged.

There are no major U.S. Treasury auctions scheduled on Friday.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.



A Deal That Has Two Elections, Rather Than Mideast Peace, as Its Focus



It has a brilliant twist: The Palestinians do not have to say yes or no for four years. That means their bottom-line response would not come until the very end of Mr. Trump’s next term, if he is re-elected. In the meantime, Israel would freeze settlements in the territory that Mr. Trump has set aside for the Palestinians, much of it areas the Israelis have little interest in.

That proviso defers all the hard questions for several years of negotiations — with their inevitable breakdowns and crises. But it gives Mr. Trump the campaign-trail talking point that he has fulfilled a 2016 promise and proposed an actual solution, rather than just a process.

The proposal, of course, helps Mr. Netanyahu by moving the goal posts. The status of Jerusalem is set out in the Trump document, rather than being a subject of negotiation. And while past presidents lectured Mr. Netanyahu about his creation of Jewish settlements in territories that are subject to negotiation, Mr. Trump’s plan makes them a permanent feature.

To critics, that is the fatal flaw.

Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, who was among the lawmakers briefed by Mr. Kushner at the White House, called it “a total abandonment of decades of U.S. Middle East policy.”

He was referring to the longtime American support for a deal that would include only modest adjustments to the Israeli borders drawn in 1967, the year of the Arab-Israeli War, and by a process created in the Oslo Accords, which began in 1993 and largely ended with the failed summit in 2000 at Camp David. The premise of those talks was that the Israelis and Palestinians would set up a complex process and inch their way toward agreements on borders, settlements, political rights and the withdrawal of the Israeli military from Palestinian lands.

There were years of talks, stalemates, “road maps to peace,” collapsed negotiations and intifadas.

Mr. Trump, the disrupter, has made it clear he does not believe that approach would work. On Tuesday, he noted that every president since Lyndon B. Johnson had tried and failed to negotiate a peace deal. Always the real-estate mogul, Mr. Trump has declared that he is more interested in working with existing facts on the ground than on creating processes.

So his plan, three years in the making, is less about future negotiations and more about cementing what exists today and making deals around the edges. If the Palestinians take it, he suggested, riches would follow. There would be a million new jobs, he said, and poverty would be cut in half. Mr. Trump has offered a similar incentive to the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.


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President Trump Unveils His Middle East Peace Plan



Daily Mail: Donald Trump unveils his ‘vision’ for ‘two-state solution’ to bring peace to the Middle East – with a TUNNEL linking the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

* Donald Trump unveils Middle East peace ‘vision’ in the East Room of the White House , standing beside Benjamin Netanyahu
* White House pointedly avoids using the word ‘plan’ in describing what was unveiled in formal statement – but Trump tweets the word ‘plan’ anyway
* Trump’s outline would offer a two-state solution with a defined map of Israel and Palestine and a freeze on new Israeli settlements
* It would join the Gaza Strip to the West bank by a tunnel making the two Palestinian territories contiguous
* But it would also require the Palestinians to reduce their territorial claims – something they have already said they will not do
* No Palestinians were present at the unveiling of the ‘vision,’ nor any Congressional Democrats, nor Netanyahu’s political rival Benny Gantz
* Critics say the scheme is an attempt to boost Netanyahu’s election chances; hours earlier he gave up seeking immunity from corruption charges

Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace ‘vision’ Tuesday afternoon with embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side – saying there would be a ‘two-state solution’ with a tunnel linking the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.

‘My vision provides a win win solution for both sides,’ the president said to great applause from the pro-Israel audience at the White House.

Trump said it was a ‘vision for peace, prosperity and a new future’ for both Israel and Palestine as he spoke in the East Room of the White House, reading from a teleprompter and declining to take questions.


More News On President Trump Unveiling His Middle East Peace Plan

Live: Trump reveals US Middle East peace plan as ‘last opportunity’ for Palestinians — France 24
Trump unveils Middle East plan: All the latest updates — Al Jazeera
Trump peace plan delights Israelis, enrages Palestinians — AP
Trump leaps into Middle East fray with plan that favors Israel and angers Palestinians — Reuters
Trump unveils ‘realistic two-state solution’ for Middle East peace — The Guardian
Trump unveils Mideast plan, ‘last opportunity’ for Palestinians — AFP
Netanyahu says peace plan would be base for negotiations: Trump — Reuters
Trump releases long-awaited Middle-East peace plan — The Hill
Trump offers two-state peace plan for Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid skepticism — The Hill
Trump reveals Israel-Palestine peace plan — DW
Trump unveils his Middle East plan amid Palestinian rejections — Al Jazeera
Trump proposes a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine in ‘win-win opportunity’ for both sides — RT
Trump plan will ‘finish off Palestinian cause’, PM warns — Al Jazeera
This is what Donald Trump’s Middle East plan looks like — Al Jazeera
Jordan says two-state solution only path to Mideast peace — Reuters
‘Slap of the century’: Palestinians reject Trump Mideast plan — Reuters
U.S. Middle East peace plan prompts some praise, much Arab anger — Reuters
Trump’s Middle East plan would steal Palestinian land: Turkey — Reuters
Trump’s Middle East peace plan: High stakes and low chances — Jeremy Bowen, BBC
Explainer: What’s in Trump’s Middle East peace plan — Stephen Farrell, Reuters


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Trump Outlines Mideast Peace Plan That Strongly Favors Israel



WASHINGTON — President Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan with a flourish on Tuesday, outlining a proposal that would give Israel most of what it has sought over decades of conflict while creating what he called a Palestinian state with limited sovereignty.

Mr. Trump’s plan would guarantee that Israel would control a unified Jerusalem as its capital and not require it to uproot any of the settlements in the West Bank that have provoked Palestinian outrage and alienated much of the outside world. He promised to provide $50 billion in international investment to build the new Palestinian entity and open an embassy in its new state.

“My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security,” the president said at a White House ceremony that demonstrated the one-sided state of affairs as he was flanked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel but no counterpart from the Palestinian leadership, which is not on speaking terms with the Trump administration.

Mr. Trump insisted his plan would be good for the Palestinians and in his speech reached out to President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, calling on him to join talks to advance the proposal. “President Abbas,” he said, “I want you to know that if you choose the path to peace, America and many other countries, we will be there, we will be there to help you in so many different ways.”

The event in the East Room of the White House had a Kabuki-theater quality to it as Mr. Trump ended years of suspense over a highly anticipated peace plan. But rather than viewing it as a serious blueprint for peace, analysts called it a political document by a president in the middle of an impeachment trial working in tandem with a prime minister under criminal indictment and about to face his third election in the span of a year.

Nearly three years in the making and overseen by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the plan is the latest of numerous American efforts to settle the 70-plus-year conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But it marked a sharp turn in the American approach, dropping decades of American support for only modest adjustments to Israeli borders drawn in 1967 and discarding the longtime goal of granting the Palestinians a full-fledged state.

The proposal imagines new Israeli borders that cut far into the West Bank, and, at least in the short term, calls for what Mr. Netanyahu has described as a Palestinian “state-minus,” lacking an army or air force. The White House called it “a demilitarized Palestinian state” with Israel retaining security responsibility west of the Jordan River, although over time the Palestinians would assume more security responsibility.

Mr. Trump said it was the first time that Israel had authorized the release of such a conceptual map illustrating territorial compromises it would make. He said it would “more than double Palestinian territory” while ensuring that “no Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes.” The White House said in a fact sheet that Israel had agreed to “a four-year land freeze” to preserve the viability of a Palestinian state.

Mr. Netanyahu welcomed the plan, describing it as “a realistic path to a durable peace” that “strikes the right balance where others have failed.” Calling Mr. Trump the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House, Mr. Netanyahu added: “It’s a great plan for Israel. It’s a great plan for peace.”

The new Palestinian state would have a capital, which the proposal called Al Quds, that would include some of the outer portions of East Jerusalem. The plan would preserve the status quo at the sprawling compound that Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary, or Al Aqsa, which is the name of one of two main Islamic shrines there. The location is the holiest place in Judaism and the third-holiest place in Islam, and the site of numerous clashes over the years. Muslims would continue to be permitted to visit Al Aqsa Mosque.

The Trump plan promises a $50 billion economic plan for the new Palestinian state that the White House claimed would create 1 million new jobs over 10 years, double the size of the Palestinian economy, cut poverty in half and reduce unemployment below 10 percent.

By asking the Palestinians to make far more territorial concessions than past proposals, though, Mr. Trump’s plan provided an American imprimatur of support to decades of aggressive Israeli settlement-building in Palestinian areas seized in two wars between Israel and Arab states. And it sent a grim message to the Palestinians that they have missed their chance to win the “two-state solution” they long pursued — as least so long as Mr. Trump is president.

Mr. Kushner and a small circle of Trump officials chose not to pursue the traditional path of brokering talks between the two parties that could lead to a joint proposal, but to hand one down from Washington. Peace-process veterans say that last happened under President Ronald Reagan in 1982.

Working secretively, Mr. Kushner and his team — which included the American ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, a strong supporter of Israeli settlement construction — consulted closely with Mr. Netanyahu’s government. But their contact with Palestinian officials ended after Mr. Trump moved the United States embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in December 2017.

Rather than court the Palestinians after that, the Trump administration only increased pressure on them, cutting off American funding for Palestinian areas and shuttering the Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington.

That dashed the initial hopes of Palestinians who believed that Mr. Trump’s unorthodox approach toward foreign policy, and his love for a grand deal, could lead him to pressure Israel to a degree they felt previous American presidents had not.

In the near term, the 80-page plan is most likely to stir up Israeli and American politics. Mr. Trump is sure to cite the plan’s pro-Israel slant on the 2020 campaign trail to win support from conservative Jewish Americans in Florida and other key states, along with the Evangelical Christians who are some of his strongest backers and support Israeli expansion in the Holy Land.

While the Palestinians are nearly certain to reject the plan, Trump allies say they will be closely watching other Arab governments with whom Mr. Trump has established close relations and who have thawed relations with Israel, to see whether they might give the plan any political cover.


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