Trump mulls announcing peace deal before Knesset election; could boost Netanyahu

“It could influence the campaign and possibly provide a boost to embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” says Ravid.

By World Israel News Staff 

President Donald Trump is about to decide whether a long-awaited plan on the future of Israelis and Palestinians should be made public in the coming weeks, or if he should wait even a bit longer until after the March 2 Knesset election, reports Axios.

The report, by Barak Ravid, who is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s Channel 13, says that the president’s decision is expected “in the next several days.”

“It could influence the campaign and possibly provide a boost to embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” says Ravid of the potential ramifications of announcing the plan before the election.

“If Trump decides to wait, it could become difficult to present the plan at a later stage because of the presidential campaign in the U.S.,” adds the correspondent.

Speculation has been rife over the exact timing of the publication of the plan for a long time.

The protracted political stalemate in Israel has been cited as a reason for the delay. The upcoming parliamentary election will be the third within a year for Israelis. Following the previous two, on April 9 and September 17, efforts to form a new governing coalition in the Knesset failed.

The Trump administration co-sponsored a conference in June in Bahrain, which dealt with the economic future of the region, in particular regarding the Palestinians, however. The Palestinian Authority leadership boycotted the event.

The peace plan, still under wraps, is said to relate to the diplomatic ramifications, including proposed borders between Israel and the Palestinian entity.

In his report, in which he cites U.S. and Israeli sources, Ravid says that “Trump’s decision will be influenced by several factors.”

They are said to include “developments in the impeachment process in Congress and the meetings Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner will have with different leaders from the Middle East and Europe during the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, where the peace plan will be one of the topics raised.”

According to the report, Kushner is due to travel to Jerusalem on Wednesday to participate in the Fifth World Holocaust Forum and is also “likely to meet Netanyahu and his political opponent Benny Gantz – the leader of the Blue and White party – and discuss the peace plan.”

Ravid says that “Netanyahu wants the White House to present the plan in order to shift the focus of his campaign away from his corruption cases. Gantz wants the White House to wait and has even argued that releasing the peace plan ahead of the elections would amount to electoral interference.”

The reason that the release of the plan before the election is considered a move that could boost the chances of success of Netanyahu’s Likud party in the March election is that the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ is believed to be more sympathetic to the Israeli right-wing vision for the future of Judea and Samaria than previous U.S. peace plans, though Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has warned that the Trump plan would deal a blow to the future of Israeli settlement activity in those regions.