- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Both Israeli and Palestinian officials believe President Donald Trump is prepping a big Middle East peace plan that could be unveiled within weeks.
Meetings at the UN General Assembly last week convinced both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Trump was serious about a peace plan.
In a sideline meeting at the UN before Abbas’ address to the body, Trump reportedly told the Palestinian leader that the US is close to putting the final touches on a plan, according to Shlomi Eldar, writing in Al-Monitor.
“It was a good talk, perhaps the best President Abbas has had with Trump,” an anonymous Palestinian source told Al-Monitor.
The Palestinian leader appears to take Trump seriously. The Palestinian Authority – which governs the Palestinian territories – has agreed to wait for the US proposal before taking any significant diplomatic steps, according to Haaretz.
Israeli leadership also suggested that Trump was serious about the peace process following the UN General Assembly.
“Trump conveyed his seriousness about this. The Americans are preparing a plan, and I presented our positions to the president,” Netanyahu told a meeting of his security cabinet, according to a separate report in Haaretz. “Trump is very determined and wants to reach the ultimate deal.”
However, the US proposal may run into trouble on the Israeli side.
“Netanyahu’s laconic, matter-of-fact report appeared designed to inform his top ministers to get ready for a diplomatic initiative that Israel’s right-wing government is unlikely to be able to accept and that Netanyahu will likely be unable to oppose,” Eldar wrote in Al-Monitor.
- REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
But Israel also seems to be preparing for a US peace proposal. At the same meeting, according to The Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu delayed a decision on settlement housing and discussed possible economic gestures toward the Palestinians.
Trump’s team for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is led by Jason Greenblatt, the White House’s special representative for international negotiations, and senior White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Greenblatt reportedly arrived in Israel on Monday.
Speaking at a meeting in New York City earlier this month, Greenblatt outlined the Trump administration’s approach to Middle East peace, as quoted by The Jerusalem Post.
“Instead of working to impose a solution from the outside, we are giving the parties space to make their own decisions about their future,” Greenblatt said.”Instead of laying blame for the conflict at the feet of one party or the other, we are focused on implementing existing agreements and unlocking new areas of cooperation which benefit both Palestinians and Israelis.”