Israeli officials believe U.S. may release peace plan before election
The Trump administration is considering publishing its long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan before Israel's March 2nd elections, Israeli officials tell me.
Why it matters: The plan's release would be a potential bombshell that could influence the results of the elections.
Context: The release of the peace plan was postponed twice in the lead-up to Israeli elections, with the White House saying it did not want to interfere with Israel's political process.
- While the White House has not made its final decision, Trump envoy Avi Berkowitz's visit to Israel this week was part of the preparations for a possible launch of the peace plan, the Israeli officials say.
- Berkowitz met on Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and today with the leader of the opposition Blue and White party, Benny Gantz. He discussed the peace plan with both leaders.
- The plan has had to be updated as a result of nearly one year of postponements, though it's not clear what those updates consist of.
What to watch: Senior members of Blue and White are concerned the plan's release could serve the interests of Netanyahu, who is campaigning despite three corruption indictments.
- One of Netanyahu's main campaign promises is to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank. If that step is included in the U.S. peace plan, it could give him an edge over Gantz.
The White House declined to comment.