U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will release details of his long- peace plan for the Middle East before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his election rival Benny Gantz in the White House next week.
With all political aspects of the peace initiative been closely guarded, only the economic proposals have been unveiled.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One en route to the Miami area for a political event, Trump said Palestinians might react negatively to his plan at first, but that “it’s actually very positive for them.”
“It’s a great plan,” said Trump, who will meet with Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday. “It’s a plan that really would work.”
The Trump Middle East peace proposal is a document, dozens of pages long, that addresses in detail the thorny political issues between Israel and the Palestinians, such as the status of Jerusalem.
U.S. officials made no mention of inviting the Palestinians, and Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: “We warn Israel and the U.S. administration not to cross any red lines.”
The launch of Trump’s plan to end the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been delayed numerous times over the last two years.
Trump, who will seek a second term in a Nov. 3 election, faces his own problems at home with Democrats seeking to oust the Republican president on impeachment charges of abusing power and obstructing Congress.
“If we waited we could be in the same position four months from now and never put out the plan,” the source said.
The political proposal is the product of three years of work by Kushner, Berkowitz and former envoy Jason Greenblatt. Kushner proposed a $50 billion economic plan for the Middle East last July at a conference in Bahrain.
Kushner and Berkowitz had been scheduled to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia after attending the World Economic Conference in Davos, Switzerland, this week, but opted instead to discuss the issue with Trump on his flight home, the source said.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014 with Palestinians accusing Trump’s policies as pro-Israel.
The Trump administration has gone against decades of U.S. policy on the conflict, refraining from endorsing the two-state solution and conceiving Palestine state as a co-existing state with Israel. This accusation was further solidified upon US appointment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving its embassy there.
More recently, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in November that the United States no longer viewed Israel settlements on West Bank land as “inconsistent with international law”.
Palestinians and most of the international community view the settlements as illegal under international law. Israel disputes this, citing historical, biblical and political ties to the land, as well as security needs.
Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, has publicly refused to engage politically with the Trump administration.
They fear the plan will dash their hopes for an independent state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.