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Netanyahu says Trump’s peace plan will be “historic”

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz said Saturday evening that the Middle East peace plan, which the US administration will soon unveil, will be “historic”, as they go to Washington to discuss this initiative.

US President Donald Trump announced Thursday that his peace plan, which has been repeatedly postponed, will be unveiled on Tuesday, when he is scheduled to meet Netanyahu at the White House.

But an Israeli official told AFP on Saturday that an initial meeting between Trump and Netanyahu would be Monday, with another meeting to follow on Tuesday.

The Israeli Prime Minister said, “An opportunity of this kind only happens once in history and we cannot miss it … I hope we are on the threshold of a historic moment for our country.”

He continued, “Today there is in the White House the greatest friend of Israel, and therefore the greatest opportunity we have ever had.”

The Palestinians reject Trump’s plan.

And the economic side of the American plan announced last June notes about $ 50 billion in investments in the Palestinian territories and neighboring Arab countries over ten years.

But the concrete details of the plan and its political split are still subject to speculation.

Still confidential

Gantz, the leader of the Israeli opposition and rival Netanyahu in the March legislative elections, will visit the US capital to discuss the plan.

The Palestinians were not invited to Washington.

“I have had many meetings and discussions on the ‘peace plan’ with advisers to the president, White House officials and my friend (American Ambassador in Jerusalem) David Friedman (…), but their content will remain secret for the time being,” Gantz said Saturday evening.

“But I can say that President Trump’s” peace plan “will in history be an important milestone that will allow various parties in the Middle East to move forward in the end with a historic regional agreement.”

Gantz is scheduled to meet the American President Monday in Washington to discuss the peace plan.

Trump came to power in 2016 vowing to mediate an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, which he calls the “Deal of the Times” or “Deal of the Century”.

But he made a series of strongly pro-Israel decisions that angered the Palestinians who broke off ties with him after declaring recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017.

Trump has long boasted that he is the most pro-Israeli US president.

The Trump administration has halted hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians and cut funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Trump believes that ending the conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian sides passes through the economy and encouraging investments.

On Thursday, Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, said, “We confirm once again our categorical rejection of the American decisions that were announced on Jerusalem and considered it the capital of Israel, along with a set of American decisions that violate international law.”

The Palestinian official warned that “if this deal is announced with these rejected forms, the leadership will announce a series of measures in which we safeguard our legitimate rights, and we will demand Israel to assume its full responsibilities as an occupying power.”

Israel views Jerusalem, with its two sides, as its unified capital, while the Palestinians want to declare East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, after it was subject to Jordanian sovereignty, like all other West Bank cities, and later annexed it in a move that was not recognized by the international community.

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