Jan 7, 2020

Israeli officials believe U.S. may release peace plan before election

Jared Kushner (L) meets with Netanyahu. Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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.

Go deeper

Gantz: Release of U.S. peace plan before Israel's elections would be "interference"

Benny Gantz. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

Benny Gantz, the leader of Israel's Blue and White party, said Wednesday during a party meeting that the release of the Trump administration's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan ahead of the country's March 2 elections would be "a harsh interference in the electoral process in Israel."

Why it matters: Gantz, the main political opponent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, issued his statement a day after he met President Trump’s envoy Avi Berkowitz — with whom he discussed the long-awaited peace plan. The remarks are a sign that Blue and White fears the Trump administration might try to use the timing of the plan's release to boost Netanyahu’s campaign as it did before last April's elections.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020

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

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.

Go deeperArrowJan 19, 2020

Trump to release Mideast peace plan, meet with Israeli leaders

Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israel's embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz have been invited to the White House next week for discussions on President Trump's long-promised Mideast peace plan, Israeli sources say.

Driving the news: Trump said on a flight to Florida Thursday that he's "probably" going to release his Mideast plan "a little bit prior" to the meeting on Jan. 28. The meeting is set for the same time as a planned vote in the Knesset over Netanyahu's bid for immunity from prosecution on corruption charges.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 24, 2020