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Trump to present Middle East plan to Israeli leaders on Monday

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Trump to present Middle East plan to Israeli leaders on Monday

By Steve Holland, Dan Williams

 

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses U.S mayors in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to disclose details of his Middle East peace plan to Israeli leaders on Monday as Palestinian officials decried it as a bid “to finish off” the Palestinian cause.

 

Trump will meet separately with right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and centrist opposition leader Benny Gantz in Washington over his long-delayed proposals, which have been kept secret.

 

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. Ahead of the U.S.-Israeli meetings, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Trump and Netanyahu were using the plan as a distraction from their domestic troubles.

 

Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives last month and is on trial in the Senate on abuse of power charges. Netanyahu faces corruption charges and an national election on March 2, his third in less than a year. Both men deny wrongdoing.

 

“This plan is to protect Trump against being impeached and to protect Netanyahu from going to jail, and it is not a peace plan,” Shtayyeh said on Monday at a cabinet meeting in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

 

“We reject it, and we demand the international community not be a partner to it because it contradicts the basics of international law and inalienable Palestinian rights,” he added.

“It is nothing but a plan to finish off the Palestinian cause.”

 

WASHINGTON MEETINGS

 

Trump’s initiative, whose principal author is his son-in-law Jared Kushner, follows a long line of efforts to resolve one of the world’s most intractable problems.

 

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014. The United Nations and most governments around the world back a blueprint for a two-state solution - an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel, the foundation of every peace plan for decades.

 

Trump hoped to release his own plan last year but was forced to delay as Netanyahu twice tried unsuccessfully to form a governing coalition after inconclusive elections.

 

After Monday’s meetings with Netanyahu and Gantz, Trump will on Tuesday deliver joint remarks with Netanyahu at the White House, where the president may reveal details of his proposal.

But whether it truly will jumpstart the long-stalled effort to bring Israelis and Palestinians together is far from certain.

 

Palestinians have refused to engage the Trump administration and denounced its first stage - a $50-billion economic revival plan announced last June.

 

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 U.S. official said Trump wants to know they are both on board with the plan before announcing it.

 

Gantz, Netanyahu’s principal domestic political rival, last week lifted his objection to having the plan published before Israel’s March election.

 

“I am looking forward to meeting the president - a president of utmost friendliness to the State of Israel - on a matter that is very important for the State of Israel - with national, strategic and security ramifications,” Gantz said as he landed in Washington on Sunday.

 

But Trump, preoccupied with November’s re-election bid, can ill afford to wait months for Israel to decide its next prime minister, a U.S. official said.

 

HONEST MEDIATOR?

 

Palestinians have called Trump’s proposal dead in the water even before its publication.

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said Washington can no longer be regarded as an honest mediator, accusing it of pro-Israel bias. This followed a series of Trump decisions that delighted Israel but dismayed and infuriated Palestinians.

 

These included recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and slashing hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to

the Palestinians.

 

Palestinian and Arab sources who were briefed on the draft fear it seeks to bribe Palestinians into accepting Israeli occupation, in what could be a prelude to Israel annexing about half of the West Bank including most of the Jordan Valley, the strategic and fertile easternmost strip of the territory.

 

Continuing obstacles to a peace settlement include the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied land and the rise to power in Gaza of the Islamist movement Hamas, which is formally committed to Israel’s destruction.

 

The Trump administration in November reversed decades of U.S. policy when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington no longer regarded Israeli settlements on West Bank land as inconsistent with international law.

 

Palestinians and most of the international community view the settlements as illegal. Israel disputes this.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-01-27
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12 hours ago, snoop1130 said:

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to disclose details of his Middle East peace plan to Israeli leaders on Monday as Palestinian officials decried it as a bid “to finish off” the Palestinian cause.

Will they be the next two criminals to receive the Nobel Peace Prize?

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11 minutes ago, spidermike007 said:

Trump will engage in foreign policy? This is a shocking development. His foreign policy to date has been an utter disaster. My guess, is that the world is not exactly waiting with baited breath, on this one. Chances are, whatever policy it is, will favor Israel to a huge degree, and be very bad for the Palestinians. In other words, no chance of success.

So why does Israel need Trump's policy, surely the new PM after elections to be held will do that.

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1 minute ago, legend49 said:

So why does Israel need Trump's policy, surely the new PM after elections to be held will do that.

Well, they sure do not have any policy of their own, when it comes to dealing with the Palestinian issue.

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17 hours ago, snoop1130 said:

disclose details of his Middle East peace plan to Israeli leaders on Monday

Well, that will be on Monday.... Wondering his plans on Thursday.. 😉

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Biggest idiots in the world must be the so called Palestinians- 1930's UK offered them 80% of the land and the Jews 20%, they said no. After WW2 UN offered them 50%, again the said no and rejected a two state solution ever since- they will never accept a 2 state solution, only one state - THEIRS.

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6 hours ago, nobodysfriend said:

This plan will most probably bring no peace , but the opposite ...

 

that is the normal trade mark of ALL US political and military efforts in the ME region

 

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Given Trump's prior efforts at foreign policy .ie Ukraine I doubt that his plan has any chance of acceptance.  We will see what his son-in-law cooked up!

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Not sure that   "The  Trump  Gaza '  casino sounds right  or will make any money !

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Another big mess a la Trump. Iran must be thankful for his help. 

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