President Trump to Unveil Middle East Peace Plan
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday will unveil his administration’s long-delayed Middle East peace proposal. “At 12 o’clock [Eastern Standard Time], we’re going to show a plan. It’s been worked on by everybody. And we’ll see whether or not it catches hold. If it does, that would be great. And if it doesn’t, we’re going to have to live with that too. But I think that it might have a chance,” the US leader said after meeting separately on Monday with both Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and de facto opposition leader Benny Gantz. The two Israelis have indicated support for the initiative, with Netanyahu reiterating his hope to “make history.” According to media reports, the peace plan envisions Israel’s annexation of large swaths of the West Bank, including the strategic Jordan Valley and up to 100 settlements located in territory claimed in its entirety by the Palestinians. The proposal also reportedly calls for Jerusalem to remain united under full Israeli sovereignty, while conditioning the eventual creation of a Palestinian state on Hamas’s disarmament and the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Ramallah has reacted with fury to Tuesday’s anticipated proceedings, declining to send a delegation to the White House and calling for massive civil unrest in the West Bank. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly urged Arab ambassadors in Washington to boycott the plan’s release, although regional states are expected to tacitly support it so long as Israel is not given an immediate green light for annexations. Despite reports that Abbas over the past week refused to take numerous phone calls from President Trump, the US leader expressed confidence that “in the end [the Palestinians are] going to want it. It’s very good for them. In fact, it’s overly good to them. So, we’ll see what happens. Now without them, we don’t do the deal. And that’s okay.” Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces have deployed additional troops to the West Bank in anticipation of possible violence.