Report: Trump Organizing Pre-Election Mideast Summit

A giant banner of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu shaking hands with President Donald Trump is hung on the Likud’s party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Sunday. (Reuters/Nir Elias)

U.S. President Donald Trump intends to invite Arab leaders, along with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to a summit at Camp David in early September. The summit will be held before the Israeli elections, with the purpose, Yediot Acharonot reported, of boosting Netanyahu’s chances in the election.

The invitation will be offered to Netanyahu on Wednesday when he meets with U.S. envoy Jarod Kushner. After meeting with Netanyahu, Kushner is off to Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where he will also present the invitations – as well as Israel’s approval for the first time of legal building in Area C of Yehudah nd Shomron. The Yediot report quoted administration sources as saying that the latter would make it easier for Arab leaders to agree to come to the summit, despite the presence of Netanyahu, whom many of the leaders have avoided meeting, at least publicly.

At the meeting, details of the Trump peace plan are likely to be revealed. The Palestinian Authority, of course, will be invited, but PA chief Mahmoud Abbas has said that he is not willing to participate in any event that advances the plan, which he has called “a disaster for the Palestinians and an end to the Palestinian state.”

The report quoted the sources as saying that the summit will focus on generalities that will allow Netanyahu and Trump enough wiggle room to endorse its general principles, but disagree with some of the details. “Trump will say yes to a Palestinian entity, but not necessarily a state; yes to a Palestinian presence in eastern Yerushalayim, but not as the capital of a PA state. Abbas will reject the plan immediately, Netanyahu will praise the efforts but say that he has some serious concerns that he will not detail. The Arab leaders will legitimize the process just by their presence,” the sources were reported as saying.

The sources said that the summit is likely to benefit Netanyahu, further cementing his image as a global leader. It is also likely to take the edge off campaigns by Netanyahu’s rivals in Blue and White, and encourage it, as well as Labor, to agree to join a Netanyahu-led coalition.