US President Donald Trump said yesterday that, in the end, the Palestinians would accept the US peace plan for the region, because it would be worth their while.
Talking to reporters on the flight from Davos to Washington, Trump said that the US would renew contact with the Palestinians. "We've spoken to them briefly. But we will speak to them in a period of time," Trump said. He added that the Palestinians would have many incentives to talk, and that while he was sure that they would respond negatively to the plan, it was actually very positive for them.
Earlier, the US administration announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would visit the White House on January 28 at Trump's invitation to be briefed on the US peace plan. "The United States and Israel are strong partners, and the prime minister's visit is an opportunity to discuss our shared regional and national security interests," the announcement said.
Both Netanyahu and and Blue & White leader Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's main challenger in the Israeli election on March 2, have said in the course of the election campaign that they will act to impose Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley. The US plan is rumored to include this and Israeli sovereignty over areas of Israeli settlement on the West Bank, although Trump said in a tweet that reports about the plan were "purely speculative." He told reporters that the plan would probably be released "a little bit prior" to the meeting with Netanyahu and Gantz.
Almost at the same time as the White House announcement, Vice President Mike Pence, who is visiting Israel, said that Trump had invited Netanyahu to the White House to discuss "the possibility of achieving peace in the Holy Land" and regional issues. Pence said that at Netanyahu's suggestion he had also invited Gantz to come to Washington. Trump responded by saying "I was surprised that both of them came off the campaign trail. We have both candidates coming - unheard of."
Trump's optimism that the Palestinians will accept the US plan has not percolated through to the Palestinian leadership. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the Palestinians "warn Israel and the US administration not to cross any red lines." Aljazeera reports him as saying, ""If this deal is announced with these rejected formulas, the leadership will announce a series of measures in which we safeguard our legitimate rights, and we will demand Israel assume its full responsibilities as an occupying power."
A senior Hamas figure, Bassem Naim, formerly health minister in the Hamas government in Gaza, warned that "The Palestinians will thwart implementation of the deal, whatever the price. It will engender a new intifada."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 24, 2020
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