President Donald Trump suggested Monday that his administration may release the much-anticipated Middle East peace plan, dubbed the “Deal of the Century”, before Israel’s next Knesset election, slated for September 17th.
Speaking at the G-7 conference in Biarritz, France, President Trump said he may release the plan prior to Israel’s 22nd Knesset election, which is set to be held just months after its 21st election this April.
The US had previously committed to holding off on publishing the plan until after Israel’s April election and the formation of a new government.
On Monday, however, President Trump appeared ready to release the plan before Israel’s second election of 2019.
“I think you may see what the deal is before the election," Trump said.
The president also expressed optimism that the Palestinian Authority will return to the negotiating table, despite the PA’s vows not to accept the US-backed peace plan.
"But I think a deal will happen. But everybody says that that’s a deal that can’t be made. They always refer to that deal -- Israel and the Palestinians; there’s tremendous hatred for many, many decades. And everybody says that is a deal that cannot be made. So we’ll see if we can make it.”
Trump said that the PA would ultimately join US-brokered talks in order to receive funding from the US.
"I think the Palestinians would like to make a deal. As you know, I cut off most funding to the Palestinians -- a lot of funding. And I think they’d like to get it back. I think they’d like to make a deal. We’ll see what happens. Nobody has ever done that before. They used to negotiate paying a fortune of money -- $750 million. They'd pay, pay, pay. And they’d be treated with disrespect, but they'd keep paying. This went on for years. So I don’t believe in that."
"We cut off their funding -- a lot of it. And we’ll see what happens. But I think they want to make a deal, the Palestinians. And I think Israel would like to make a deal too."
The US has already released the economic portion of its peace deal at a workshop in Bahrain in June.
The political portion of the deal, however, remains a closely-guarded secret, with only a handful of senior US officials, including envoy Jason Greenblatt and White House advisor Jared Kushner privy to the entire peace plan.