UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — US President Donald Trump said on Monday he would announce his long-delayed Middle East peace plan on Tuesday and expressed his belief that the Palestinians would eventually agree to it despite their current rejection.
Trump, who was sitting next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Oval Office of the White House, said his plan was “very logical to everyone.” For the Palestinians, he added, “they will want it in the end.” But he declined to explain how it would be good for them.
Trump will make joint statements with Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday to unveil the features of his plan, which US officials aim to give impetus to resolving one of the world’s most complex conflicts.
Palestinians fear that the plan would dash their hopes for an independent state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
“(The Palestinians) will not want it at first, but I think they (will agree to it) in the end … It is good for them,” Trump said. Actually it is very good for them. So we will see what happens. Now we are not making a deal without them and that is okay.”
“We think there is a high possibility that they will want it,” Trump added.
After his meeting with Netanyahu, Trump met separately with Benny Gantz, leader of the Israeli Blue and White party, and his rival Netanyahu in the elections on March 2.
Palestinian leaders say they have not received an invitation to visit Washington and that any peace plan cannot succeed without them.
Prior to the American-Israeli meetings, Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said, “This plan to protect Trump from isolation and to protect Netanyahu from prison is not a plan for peace in the Middle East, but a plan for the safety of its owners.”
He added, “This plan … is nothing but a plan to liquidate the Palestinian issue, and we reject it and we demand the international community not to be a partner in it because it conflicts with the alphabet of international law and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”
The Palestinians refuse to deal with the Trump administration in protest of his pro-Israel policies, such as moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, from which the Palestinians want the eastern part to be the capital of their future state.
– distract –
The two-day meetings between Trump and the Israelis come at a time when a trial of the US president is taking place in the Republican-led Senate over two accusations made by the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives that he abused power and obstructed Congress.
But it is not certain whether the plan will stir the long-stalled efforts to hold talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Palestinians condemned the first phase of the plan, which was a 50-billion-dollar economic recovery plan announced last July because the plan did not touch on the Israeli occupation.
The White House hopes to gain momentum after Netanyahu and Gantz support the plan.
An American source familiar with the internal deliberations said that the presence of Netanyahu and Gantz removed the internal political tensions in Israel.
Gantz, Netanyahu’s main political rival, last week withdrew his objection to the publication of the plan ahead of Israel’s March elections.
On his arrival in Washington on Sunday, he said, “I look forward to meeting the President – a president who is extremely friendly to the State of Israel – on an issue of great importance to the State of Israel with national, strategic and security implications.”
But a US official said that Trump, preoccupied with the November presidential election, could not wait months for Israel to choose its next prime minister.
– A Palestinian refused –
The Palestinians described Trump’s plan as not working, even before it was published.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Washington could no longer be considered an honest broker, accusing it of bias towards Israel. This came after a series of Trump decisions that Israel welcomed but angered the Palestinians.
Besides Trump’s decisions regarding Jerusalem, he has cut millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.
Palestinian and Arab sources familiar with the draft fear that they are seeking to bribe the Palestinians to accept the Israeli occupation in what may pave the way for the annexation of Israel to about half of the West Bank, including most of the Jordan Valley.
Among the obstacles in the way of a peaceful settlement are the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and the rise of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) to power in the Gaza Strip. The movement officially pledged to destroy Israel.
The militant Islamic State also urged its fighters and Muslims in general in an audio recording today, Monday, to attack Jews and Jewish settlements.
The audio tape, allegedly by the organization’s spokesperson, Abu Hamza al-Qurashi, called for a “deal of the century” to fail, in reference to the Middle East peace plan. Reuters could not verify the identity of the spokesman in the recording.
In November, the Trump administration abandoned decades-old US policy when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington no longer considered Israeli settlements on West Bank territory contrary to international law.
The Palestinians and the majority of the international community consider the settlements illegal. Israel rejects this.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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