Arab Media: U.S. Postpones Presentation of Peace Plan

YERUSHALAYIM -
Trump Abbas
President Donald Trump (L.) meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Beit Lechem in 2017. (Reuters/Fadi Arouri/Pool)

The United States has postponed indefinitely its presentation of a proposed peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians – termed “the deal of the century” – a report in the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper said. The report quoted sources in the administration as saying that “the American team working on the deal, which wants to ensure that its ideas are acceptable to both sides, wants to wait a little longer before publicly presenting the plan.” No date or deadline was given for that event, the report said.

Palestinian sources quoted in the report said that the real reason for the delay was the recent animosity between Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas and the administration of President Donald Trump, over the latter’s perceived “favoring” of Israel and the American decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim. That declaration, especially, was “the step that brought the plan to failure even before it was presented,” a Palestinian source said.

Had the declaration not been made, “it would have been difficult for the Palestinians to refuse to return to the negotiating table on the basis of this plan. But now we cannot return to talks, and without us there is no plan,” the source said, adding that “the Americans are trying to recruit other Arab countries to represent the Palestinians in lieu of our participation, but so far no countries have volunteered. It is for that reason the Americans have put their plan back on the shelf.”

The report quoted the American sources as saying that “we cannot force anything on the Palestinians. The point is for the plan to be accepted by both sides, and in addition to get support for it from other Arab countries.”

A Lebanese newspaper Tuesday said that the basic outline of the promised Middle East peace deal authored by U.S. President Donald Trump had been presented to Palestinian Authority officials. According to the A-Diyar newspaper, which is identified with Hezbollah, the plan was presented to top PA intelligence official Majad Faraj, who was called to Riyadh for an “emergency meeting” to discuss the plan.

According to the report, the 35-page plan shows specific borders for a future Palestinian state, amounting to about half of Yehudah and Shomron. The question of which side will control which part of Yerushalayim – including the Old City – is put off until an undetermined date. The Palestinian demand for the return of the descendants of those who fled Israel in 1948 is addressed in a “humanitarian” manner, the report said, although it did not furnish details.