Jan 19, 2020 - World

Trump to decide in coming days on when to release Middle East peace plan

Pompeo, Trump and Pence

Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump is expected to decide in the next several days whether to present the White House's Middle East peace plan before Israel's March 2 elections, Israeli and U.S. sources told me.

Why it matters: If the plan is presented before the Israeli elections, it could influence the campaign and possibly provide a boost to embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If Trump decides to wait, it could become difficult to present the plan at a later stage because of the presidential campaign in the U.S.

Behind the scenes: There have been intense deliberations over the past several days among the Trump advisers tasked with dealing with this issue. Trump himself still hasn’t had a discussion with his team on whether to present the plan before the Israeli elections.

Israeli and U.S. sources tell me Trump’s decision will be influenced by several factors:

  • Developments in the impeachment process in Congress.
  • The meetings Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner will have with different leaders from the Middle East and Europe during the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, where the peace plan will be one of the topics raised.
  • Kushner is expected to travel from Davos to Jerusalem on Wednesday to participate in the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, where he is likely to meet Netanyahu and his political opponent Benny Gantz — the leader of the Blue and White party — and discuss the peace plan.

Between the lines: Netanyahu wants the White House to present the plan in order to shift the focus of his campaign away from his corruption cases. Gantz wants the White House to wait and has even argued that releasing the peace plan ahead of the elections would amount to electoral interference.

White House officials told me Trump still hasn’t made a decision, but didn't deny that one could be coming soon.

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