US peace plan to be unveiled in the next few days

The American President on his descent from Air Force One, in Miami, on January 23
The American president on his descent from Air Force One, in Miami, on January 23 SAUL LOEB / AFP

Donald Trump knows how to make the suspense last until the end, when it comes to announcing one of the most important projects of his presidency. A project on which his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been working for almost three years. But this time, the American president promises it: he will finally unveil his plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before next week's visit to Washington by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz.

"It's a great plan"he told reporters on Air Force One on the way back from the Davos forum on Thursday (January 23rd). Only the economic component of this project, concocted since the spring of 2017 in the greatest secrecy, was presented in June: 50 billion international investments in the Palestinian Territories and the neighboring Arab countries over ten years.

But Palestinian leaders, who have refused to argue with the Trump administration since the US president recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, have previously rejected the American plan, which appears to bury the two-state solution hitherto favored by the International community.

Netanyahu and Gantz at the White House

On board the presidential plane, Donald Trump welcomed the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu and his political opponent, Benny Gantz, had both agreed to go to the White House while they were campaigning for the elections of 2 March. "We have the two candidates coming, it's unprecedented", he said.

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Benjamin Netanyahu is expected in Washington on Tuesday, the day on which, moreover, Israeli deputies are due to start discussing the request for immunity of the head of government, indicted for " corruption " in three cases. Asked about possible contacts between his administration and the Palestinians, Trump remained elusive. "We spoke to them briefly", he replied, without further details. "I am sure they may react negatively at first, but it is actually very positive for them", he added.

The Palestinian Authority reiterated on Thursday its categorical rejection of the White House peace plan. " "The deal of the century" President Trump could announce is already dead "said Palestinian Authority spokesman Mahmoud Abbas after the latter's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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"We absolutely reject what the Trump administration has achieved so far (…) Our position is clear: Israel must end the occupation of Palestinian land in force since 1967", added Nabil Abou Roudeina. Colonization by Israel of the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem has continued under all Israeli governments since 1967, but has accelerated in recent years under the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his ally in Washington.

A visit during the electoral campaign

President Abbas said on Wednesday "The importance of the French and European role in saving the political process", during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron who visited Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority. "Whatever peace process is possible is only if the parties involved want to build peace, then France will help and in the role that must be hers and will be hers"said Macron this week in Jerusalem.

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The plan announced by Donald Trump in the campaign was expected in fall 2019, after the Israeli elections in September. But this election, which pitted Benjamin Netanyahu against former army chief Benny Gantz, did not lead, as in the previous elections in April, to the formation of a government, hence the holding of legislative news in early March.

"We have no better friend than President Trump", reacted Mr. Netanyahu. "With so many friends in the White House, we should reach the widest possible consensus to ensure the security and peace of Israel", he added. Benny Gantz "Also accepted the president's invitation", according to the White House, which did not specify whether his visit would take place on the same day.


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