Trump to Netanyahu, Gantz: You have six weeks to implement peace plan

Reported details of the plan include Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and control of the Holy Basin.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party chairman MK Benny Gantz are set to meet separately with US President Donald Trump Monday at the White House, ahead of the expected roll-out of the American administration’s long-awaited peace plan.

The president will first meet with Netanyahu alone for 20 minutes at 6 PM Israel time (11 AM in Washington) and then participate in an expanded meeting along with the prime minister’s staff for a little less than an hour. The meeting with Gantz is to follow immediately afterward.

Reuters reported Monday that a U.S. official said that Trump’s message to the two will be: “You have six weeks to get this [plan] going, if you want it.”

Before getting on their respective flights to Washington, both rivals for the prime minister’s seat in the Israeli parliamentary election on March 2 called the plan, which has been dubbed the Deal of the Century, a “historic” plan. They publicly gave it favorable reviews even without knowing all its details, with Netanyahu taking the credit for its supposed pro-Israel angle.

The Israeli leaders will presumably learn many more of its specifics in Monday’s meetings, as the president would like to get their public support for it ahead of his news conference with Netanyahu on Tuesday. This is when the plan will reportedly be revealed officially for the first time.

According to Israeli public broadcaster Kan, there is a lot for the right-wing to like in the deal. Reportedly, Israel would be able to annex the entire Jordan Valley and 30 percent of Judea and Samaria, including all the Jewish communities in Area C, which is already under full Israeli control by virtue of accords reached in the 1990s between Israel and the Palestinians. The Jewish State would also keep control of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin – the Old City and its environs –  including the Temple Mount.

A proposed Palestinian state would be formed in the other 70 percent of Judea and Samaria and would receive some of the Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem that presumably would be declared the Palestinian state’s capital. The state would have to be demilitarized, said the report, and Israel would be able to move its military freely across Palestinian territory to ensure Israeli security.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), which rejected the peace plan even when it was first being conceptualized, continued in the same vein Sunday. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat threatened to “withdraw” from the Oslo Accords [the 1990s agreements] if the Trump plan is announced. He argued that the plan would turn Israel’s “temporary occupation into a permanent occupation” of what the PA says is Palestinian territory.

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There are also reported parts of the plan that the Israeli right-wing would not view favorably.

According to a report in Ynet, the proposal sets a four-year transition period during which  Israel could only build in existing communities and not expand in Area C.

In addition, some 60 small Jewish outposts would have to be evacuated and the Palestinian state would receive a land swathe within Israel proper, Israeli territory from before the June 1967 war, in exchange for Judean and Samarian territory, captured by Israel during that war, that the Jewish State would annex.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and other right-wing leaders have already stated their objections to transferring any control of territory to what they say would be a Palestinian “terror state.”