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Trump to unveil Middle East peace plan to Israelis in spite of serious Palestinian doubts
Published in Ahram Online on 27 - 01 - 2020

US President Donald Trump said on Monday he will announce his long-delayed Middle East peace proposal on Tuesday and that he believes Palestinians will eventually go along with it in spite of their refusal to engage on the subject.
Sitting down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office, Trump said his plan "makes a lot of sense for everybody."
Trump declined to disclose details of the plan and how it would be good for Palestinians but he still insisted that "it's something they should want."
Palestinians have refused to talk with the Trump administration in opposition to the president's pro-Israeli policies such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Palestinians fear the plan will dash their hopes for an independent state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Palestinian leaders say they were not invited to Washington and that no peace plan can work without them.
"They probably won't want it initially," Trump said. But I think in the end they will ... It's very good for them. In fact it's overly good to them. So we'll see what happens. Now without them, we don't do the deal and that's okay."
"We think there's a very good chance that they're going to want this," he added.
After meeting Netanyahu, Trump was to meet Benny Gantz, the head of the centrist Blue and White Party, who is Netanyahu's rival in March 2 elections.
On Tuesday, Trump will deliver joint remarks with Netanyahu at the White House to outline his plan, which is aimed at generating momentum toward resolving one of the world's most intractable problems.
The two days of foreign policy meetings are providing Trump with a contrast from the trial in the Republican-led Senate that is weighing articles of impeachment against him approved by the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
But whether it truly will jumpstart the long-stalled effort to bring Israelis and Palestinians together is far from certain.
Palestinians have roundly denounced a $50-billion economic revival plan it set forth last July to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies.
The White House hope was that if Trump could get the support of both Netanyahu and Gantz for the plan, it would help provide some momentum. A US official said Trump wants to know both Netanyahu and Gantz are on board with the plan before announcing it.
Having both leaders present helps take the politics out of the effort, said a US source familiar with internal deliberations.
"The rationale ... is it depoliticizes this to the point that, no matter what happens on March 2, the two leaders of the two largest parties can potentially be supportive," the source said.
The Trump plan is the product of three years' effort by senior advisers Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz, as well as Jason Greenblatt, who left the government last autumn.
Trump last year had hoped to release his secret proposal aimed at triggering negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but was forced to delay it as Netanyahu struggled to form a governing coalition.
The proposal, more than 50 pages long, aims to take on some of the most difficult issues separating the two, such as the status of Jerusalem. Palestinians want the city's eastern part as their future capital.
Netanyahu, a veteran right-wing leader, faces political and legal troubles at home as he heads for his third election in less than a year, and was indicted on criminal charges in November. He denies any wrongdoing.
Netanyahu's principal domestic political rival, Gantz, a centrist former general, last week lifted his objection to having the peace plan published before Israel's March election. He had previously seen it as interference in the vote.


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