Netanyahu, Gantz Head to White House with Expected Release of Peace Plan
Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and de facto opposition leader Benny Gantz are heading to Washington, where US President Donald Trump is apparently prepared to unveil his long-delayed Middle East peace plan. They will meet with the US leader separately. Many attribute President Trump’s decision to release the proposal prior to Israel’s March 2 election to a desire to boost the chances of Netanyahu, who is facing indictments on criminal charges, including bribery. Concerns over the optics extend well beyond Gantz and his Blue and White list – which is currently leading Netanyahu’s Likud party in the polls – when considering that no Palestinian official will take part in the meetings. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has given no indication that he is willing to lift a boycott imposed on the Trump Administration in the wake of its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, and Abbas has already rejected the US peace proposal out-of-hand, claiming it will be biased toward Israel. If numerous reports are correct in describing the US plan as the most generous ever suggested to an Israeli government, most analysts agree that it will, in fact, be dead on arrival, at least in the eyes of in Ramallah.