'The only consideration is Israel's national interest'

Prime Minister's Office responds to comments by Israeli official that Trump peace plan may be delayed due to early elections in Israel.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Netanyahu and Trump
Netanyahu and Trump
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister's Binyamin Netanyahu’s Office responded on Sunday night to a statement made by a senior Israeli official to Arutz Sheva, who said that early elections in Israel would lead to a significant postponement in the publication of the US administration's peace plan for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"The prime minister does not know when the American plan will be presented, and when it is presented, the only considerations he will have are the national interests, first and foremost the security of Israel," Netanyahu's office said.

The senior Israeli official had said that the Israeli government had urged the US to push off the release of the peace plan in the event that Netanyahu’s coalition collapses and new elections are called.

“The Americans understand very well the situation in Israel, and they know that it wouldn’t be right to release a peace plan in the middle of an election season, and could even be interpreted as interference in Israeli domestic affairs,” the official told Arutz Sheva.

“The messages we’ve gotten from the other side [the White House] suggest a clear understanding of the situation and willingness to push off the release of the peace plan, if there are early elections, until after a new government is formed.”

White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt said at a closed-door meeting in London earlier this month that the so-called “Deal of the Century”, as the Trump administration’s peace plan has come to be known, will be released in the near future.

Greenblatt and other White House officials have refused to comment on the peace plan, which reportedly has yet to be finalized.

A report on Channel 10 News on Sunday evening, meanwhile, said that President Donald Trump is set to decide this week when the administration will begin the rollout of the much anticipated peace plan.

According to the report, which cited senior American officials, Trump is scheduled to meet with senior administration officials this week to settle on a date for the plan’s release.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who flew back to Washington recently to take part in the meeting, are among the senior administration members who will sit down with the president to plan out the rollout.

National Security Advisor John Bolton, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, and special White House envoy Jason Greenblatt are also expected to take part in the meeting with the president, according to Channel 10.

President Trump is reportedly anxious to unveil the plan as soon as possible, and is still eyeing a December 2018 release. Senior officials within the Trump administration, however, advised the president to delay the peace plan’s rollout, especially if Israel holds early elections.

Whenever the peace plan is presented, it is likely to be met with rejection from PA officials, who have been boycotting the US ever since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has continuously blasted the Trump administration, last week again criticized the peace initiative.

"The ‘Deal of the Century’ will not pass and the fate of the land of Palestine will be decided by the Palestinian people," said Abbas.