Israeli Elections Likely To Push Back Release Of Trump Peace Plan

The upcoming Israeli national vote is liable to further delay the release of United States President Donald Trump’s much-hyped two-years-in-the-making peace plan to end the conflict with the Palestinians. The American leader has expressed a desire to roll-out the proposal by February, however, analysts believe that doing so could place electoral pressures on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as he invariably tacks to the right in order to rally his base ahead of the poll. According to sources, the White House prefers to deal with Netanyahu and should its peace plan call for concessions to the Palestinians it could put the premier in a difficult bind. As such, Netanyahu reportedly requested that the American initiative be postponed until at least May so as not to harm his chances of receiving a new mandate from the public, which, in turn, could actually help Washington navigate the Israeli-Palestinian political minefield given the prospective emergence of a more stable government in Jerusalem. Adding to the complexity is the fall-out from the alleged involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin-Salman in the October killing of journalist Jamal Kahshoggi. The young Saudi ruler is viewed by the U.S. administration as key to rallying regional support for the peace plan and his current diminished status, including within the American political arena, presents a major obstacle. Then there is the ongoing boycott of U.S. officials by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who cut-off ties with the White House after its recognition last year of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Finally, President Trump’s hasty decision to withdraw American troops from Syria—this, against the recommendation of his top military brass and Middle East allies—has apparently prompted regional leaders to question whether their U.S. counterpart has the diplomatic wherewithal and patience to break the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

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