In a brief but hugely impactful pause in campaigning ahead of Israel's March 2 elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party rival Benny Gantz separately met President Trump at the White House Monday.
Trump's "deal of the century" is set to be revealed Tuesday at noon, Trump told reporters while sitting alongside Netanyahu. The president sought to assure the press that the Palestinians would "ultimately" come around to giving their support, though statements of Palestinian leadership have made this highly doubtful.
"I think it might have a chance," he said. Trump touted that both Netanyahu and Gantz "like very much" what they've heard of the plan thus far.
President Trump described the plan has having been "many, many years in the making".
The administrations last big move, albeit deeply controversial, was to relocate the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in recognition of it as the official Israeli capital in 2018.
The Netanyahu visit is scheduled to last for over an hour, while the Gantz meeting is set for between 30 to 45 minutes. Gantz until days ago was uncertain if he would proceed with the controversial visit, given Trump's peace plan is expected to benefit and line up with Netanyahu's vision of Israel's future borders. Netanyahu is expected to stay in Washington until Wednesday evening, and is planned to meet with Trump again Tuesday just before the plan's release.
"We'll see what happens," Trump said. "We have something that makes a lot of sense for everybody," the president added after describing that most people think of the prospect for Israeli-Palestinian peace as something impossible.
"They say it's probably the most difficult deal anywhere, and of any kind, to make ... We have something that makes a lot of sense for everybody." pic.twitter.com/HWERFrD1XH— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 27, 2020
Despite Trump's measured optimism, Palestinian Authority leaders as well as Hamas have previously repeatedly said the plan would be dead on arrival.
For its part the Palestinian side has not been invited to Washington, and even threatened over the weekend to withdraw from key provisions of the 1993 Oslo Accords.
The White House press corps attempted to ask President Trump about impeachment/Bolton at the end of his spray with Netanyahu – as press officers escorted journalists out. No answer. pic.twitter.com/5g0jSK4WeI— Peter Stevenson (@PeterStevenson) January 27, 2020
Last week an Israeli television news channel claimed to have obtained leaked details of the peace plan. Though unconfirmed, Israeli media reported some of the leaked key points as follows:
Setting out the reported specifics of the plan, the TV report said, without specifying a source, that it provides for:
- Israeli sovereignty in all 100-plus West Bank settlements, all but 15 of which would be territoriality contiguous. (An estimated 400,000 Jews live in some 120 official settlements.)
- Israeli sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, including the Old City, with only “symbolic Palestinian representation” in Jerusalem.
- Were Israel to accept the deal, and the Palestinians to reject it, Israel would have US support to begin annexing settlements unilaterally.
- The Palestinians will be granted statehood, but only if Gaza is demilitarized, Hamas gives up its weapons, and the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital.
If any of the above are true it goes without saying that it's highly unlikely the Palestinians would unite under such a plan.
The PA says it can't acknowledge a 'deal' which it had no involvement in brokering or was not consulted on.