Report: Trump to Hold Off on Peace Plan Till 2019 to Help Netanyahu Politically

YERUSHALAYIM -
President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during the former’s 2017 visit to Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

President Donald Trump will hold off on releasing his “deal of the century” peace plan, in order to relieve pressure on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a report in the Al-Quds newspaper said Thursday. The report quoted a Palestinian Authority source as saying that the plan would not be released until at least February, and not December – after its release had already been pushed back from September.

“Netanyahu would prefer that the plan not be publicized at all, but certainly not in the wake of the recent events in the Middle East,” referring to the mini-war in which Hamas recently fired nearly 500 missiles at Israel, “and his current political situation,” in which the Likud has lost some support because of Netanyahu’s perceived failure to respond adequately to the Hamas attack, said the PA source.

The plan contains requirements for Israel to make concessions to the PA – and in the midst of what appears to be an upcoming election contest, American officials are concerned that such demands would be uncomfortable for Netanyahu, empowering Naftali Bennett and those to the right of him. According to Arutz Sheva, Netanyahu’s aides are behind the decision, as they had alerted Trump administration officials that the issue could harm the prime minister’s campaign.

On Wednesday, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) discussed the Trump plan, saying that it was “a waste of time. The gap between Israel and the Palestinians is too great. I want peace like anyone else, but I do not believe we can come to an agreement with the PA. I would tell the president not to waste his time.”