With Israel on the brink of early elections, President Donald Trump’s much-anticipated Middle East peace plan, dubbed the ‘Deal of the Century’, could be placed on hold until after Israelis go to the polls and a new government is formed.
A senior Israeli official has told Arutz Sheva that the framework for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which is currently being drawn up by the White House, would likely be shelved in the event the Israeli government dissolves and new elections held.
White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt said at a closed-door meeting in London earlier this month that the ‘Deal of the Century’ plan will be released in the near future, seemingly confirming claims that President Trump told Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the plan would be put on the table sometime between November and January.
Greenblatt and other White House officials have refused to comment on the peace plan, which reportedly has yet to be finalized.
According to the senior Israeli official, the Israeli government has urged the Trump administration to hold back on releasing the peace plan in the event of early elections.
“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 early elections, until after a new government is formed.”
Elections are not scheduled to take place in Israel until November 2019, but outgoing Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s recent departure from the government has reduced Netanyahu’s ruling majority from 66 to 61 – the bare minimum required in the 120-member Knesset.
Several coalition leaders have backed early elections, while the Jewish Home faction has said it will back the current coalition – in exchange for the Defense Ministry portfolio.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office responded to the report Sunday, saying the Prime Minister had no specific information regarding when the White House will present its peace plan.
“The Prime Minister does not know when the American plan will be released,” the Prime Minister’s Office said, “and when it is presented, the Prime Minister will consider it solely based on [Israel’s] national interests, particularly Israeli security.”