August 26, 2019 10:13 pm0 commentsViews: 4


Blue and White’s Yair Lapid, meanwhile, welcomed Trump’s statement, saying the intention to publicize the plan before the elections is “just and correct.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he meets Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi (not pictured) for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019. (photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)

US President Donald Trump hinted on Monday that parts of his long-awaited Mideast peace plan may be released before the September 17 election, leading to some speculation that this may include elements of the plan that may help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the polls.
Speaking on the sidelines of the G7 meeting in France before a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel al-Sisi, Trump said that while the entire plan would not be released before the election, “I think you may see what the deal is before the election.”

While the details of the 60-page plan are a carefully guarded secret, if the administration would say – for example – that under the plan Israel could extend sovereignty over the large settlement blocks, that is something that could conceivably help Netanyahu with certain parts of the electorate.

In the run-up to the election in April, Trump recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a move widely considered as designed to give a boost to Netanyahu on Election Day.

Blue and White’s Yair Lapid, meanwhile, welcomed Trump’s statement, saying the intention to publicize the plan before the election is “just and correct.”

“The Israeli public has a right to know what to expect the day after the election,” Lapid said. “A Blue and White government will be a partner for anything that strengthens Israel’s security and safeguard the country’s interests.”

The plan, whose roll-out has been delayed repeatedly over the last two years, was expected to be released this summer, but those plans went awry when Netanyahu failed to form a government after the April election, triggering a new vote.

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Rather than present the whole plan, the administration decided to unveil the economic chapter – a $50 billion development plan for the Palestinians, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon – at a conference held in Bahrain in June, and to unveil the political component of the plan at a later date.

“It got complicated by the Israeli election, but we’re going to know who the prime minister is going to be fairly soon,” Trump said of his plan. “That was a complicating factor.”

Even though the Palestinian Authority cut off ties with the administration following Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Trump said he believes the Palestinians “would like to make a deal.”

“As you know, I cut off most funding to the Palestinians – a lot of funding,” he said. “And I think they’d like to get it back. I think they’d like to make a deal. We’ll see what happens.”

Trump indicated he changed the negotiating paradigm with the Palestinians, and that while in the past the US would fund the Palestinians regardless of their attitude toward the US – which he said were often disrespectful – “I don’t believe in that.”

“We cut off their funding – a lot of it,” he added. “And we’ll see what happens. But I think they want to make a deal, the Palestinians. And I think Israel would like to make a deal too. I think people, after so many years and decades, I think they’re a little tired of fighting.”

Despite the delays, Trump sounded cautiously optimistic about a deal.

“I think a deal will happen,” he said. “But everybody says that that’s a deal that can’t be made. They always refer to that deal – Israel and the Palestinians; there’s tremendous hatred for many, many decades. And everybody says that is a deal that cannot be made. So we’ll see if we can make it.”


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