Jan 28, 2020

White House peace plan to offer hint of Trump's future relationship with Israel

In March, President Trump welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

President Trump has spent three years accruing political capital with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and, today, with the release of the administration's Middle East peace plan, we will learn how much of it Trump is willing to spend.

Between the lines: If he offers the Palestinians their own state, that move alone would meet opposition in conservative Israeli circles. But Trump has done so much for Netanyahu that it’s hard to imagine Netanyahu defying him even if he faces internal pressure.

  • Trump's support for Israel — and Netanyahu — so far includes recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the embassy there, recognizing the Golan Heights, and unequivocal support for Israel’s security.

The state of play: The Trump administration team, led by Jared Kushner, is releasing this plan after having only very limited contact with the Palestinians.

  • The Trump team is hoping that supportive statements from Arab neighbors, and some European countries typically supportive of the Palestinians, will encourage the Palestinian people to pressure their leaders to go back to the negotiating table.

The big picture: The peace plan has been the most secretive effort inside an extraordinarily leaky administration. Not a single detail has leaked for three years about how the Trump administration will propose to divide territory between Israel and the Palestinians.

  • The details have been closely held among Jared Kushner and his small team — Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, special representative for international negotiations Avi Berkowitz, and senior State Department official Brian Hook. Trump’s former negotiator Jason Greenblatt also played a key role in crafting the plan.
  • Some key allies who have been asked to provide statements of support have yet to see details of the plan.

Go deeper: Jared's peace plan finally arrives

Go deeper

Jared's peace plan finally arrives

Jared Kushner speaks on stage as U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman looks on during the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. Photo: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

The Trump administration is expected to release its long-awaited Middle East peace plan on Tuesday, sources familiar with the plan tell me.

Between the lines: The Israeli-Palestinian peace plan has been the most secretive effort inside an extraordinarily leaky administration. Not a single detail has leaked for three years about how the Trump administration will propose to divide territory between Israel and the Palestinians.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020

Trump presents Middle East peace plan, green lights Israeli annexations

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump described his long-awaited Middle East peace plan as a "realistic two-state solution," but it's being hailed as a victory by Israel and emphatically rejected by the Palestinians.

The state of play: As the plan was released publicly, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told reporters that the areas of the West Bank envisioned as Israeli territory can be immediately annexed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already called on his Cabinet to endorse annexation plans this Sunday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 28, 2020

Arab League foreign ministers reject Trump peace plan

Bahrain's Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa arrives to attend an Arab League emergency meeting discussing the US Middle East peace plan, Cairo, Feb. 1. Photo: Khaled Desouki/Contributor/Getty Images

The foreign ministers of the member states of the Arab League unanimously adopted a resolution on Saturday rejecting the Trump Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and said that "it does not satisfy the minimum of the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people."

Why it matters: The Trump administration was counting on a coalition of Arab countries it has built over the last several years to prevent such a resolution and press the Palestinians to go back to the table. Those efforts did not materialize.

Go deeperArrowFeb 1, 2020 - World