Partially yielding to Palestinian threats, the Trump administration has reportedly agreed to present a peace plan in the next four months.
Jared Kushner, a top adviser to President Donald J. Trump, met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Thursday to try to jump-start the stalled peace talks. After months without progress, the Mideast envoy faced growing skepticism on the Palestinian side.
With no clear vision for peace outlined by the administration, expectations for the new peace push are low.
Israel Hayom quoted a senior Palestinian official on Sunday who said that Kushner asked Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in Ramallah to hold back on their threat to take unilateral diplomatic initiatives against Israel for a period of some four months, in exchange for an American commitment to submit a comprehensive diplomatic plan within that time frame to advance the diplomatic process.
The Palestinians have expressed pessimism and set preconditions, including an ultimatum that unless progress towards a two-state solution is made within 45 days, the Palestinians will consider themselves no longer committed to US mediation. Kushner’s response was apparently a response to this ultimatum.
According to the Palestinian official quoted by Israel Hayom, the Trump administration intends to formulate a plan that includes a timetable for discussion of most of the core issues. The Trump administration has conditioned its efforts on the Palestinians’ “silence” on the diplomatic front against Israel.
Abbas reportedly agreed in principle to Kushner’s request, but asked for Trump’s personal guarantee and commitment to the plan and the two-state vision.
Trump has said he would accept any solution that would resolve the conflict. “Looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” he said in February, at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.
The White House later said both sides agreed that the US-led talks were the best step forward. “The Palestinian Authority and the US delegation had a productive meeting focused on how to begin substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Both sides agreed to continue with the US-led conversations as the best way to reach a comprehensive peace deal,” the statement said.
According to Israel Hayom, it was also decided that Trump and Abbas would meet at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly in September, and that during the meeting Trump will present his road map for peace. Trump is already slated to meet Netanyahu.
Meanwhile, the Arab daily Al-Hayat reported on Saturday that Kushner told Abbas that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to order a complete construction freeze in Judea and Samaria because doing so could “lead to the collapse of the coalition.”
The Palestinians have reportedly demanded that Israel freeze all construction in Judea and Samaria and in Jerusalem as a precondition to any future talks.
Despite the seeming obstacles, Kushner and Netanyahu both expressed optimism about the possibility of successful negotiations.
By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report.