News

Netanyahu, Gantz to visit Trump, discuss peace plan next week

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Washington, D.C., next week to meet with President Trump and other officials and discuss a long-awaited Middle East peace plan.

Vice President Pence said during a meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem that Trump had asked him to invite Netanyahu to Washington to discuss “regional issues, as well as the prospect of peace here in the Holy Land.”

Netanyahu “gladly accepted” the invitation.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pence said he would also invite Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s political rival and the leader of Israel’s Blue and White Party. The two have been unable to form coalition governments following elections last year, casting uncertainty over Israel’s leadership situation.

The White House confirmed a short time later that the two men would visit on Tuesday, setting up a split-screen day of activities on opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The meeting is expected to focus on the rollout of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, a long-promised policy proposal that has hit various roadblocks and been kept largely under wraps in the three years since Trump took office.

Trump is reportedly prepared to announce details of the plan as soon as Friday, though a White House spokesman told reporters on Thursday morning he had no information to share about possible timing.

The Trump administration has promised since 2017 that it would deliver a groundbreaking proposal to ensure peace between Israelis, Palestinians and other stakeholders in the Middle East. It has unveiled snippets of its plans, including an economic component, but many of the specifics remain under wraps.

The White House has been unable to secure buy-in from Palestinian officials who vehemently opposed the administration’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and relocate the U.S. Embassy there.

ADVERTISEMENT

Jason Greenblatt, the special envoy to the Middle East and a key architect of the peace plan, left the White House last year, throwing its fate into question. A senior official said at the time that the proposal was “complete,” but would not say when it would be released.

Officials had previously signaled they would withhold the specifics of the plan until after Israel’s elections. But both Gantz and Netanyahu failed to form governing coalitions after two cycles last year, and Israel is set to hold another election in March.

The visit from the Israeli leaders and potential unveiling of a peace plan coincides with Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. His defense team is expected to begin its arguments on Saturday and could finish by Tuesday, teeing up a vote on whether to hear from additional witnesses.

Trump is also scheduled to rally supporters in New Jersey on Tuesday night, hours after he welcomes Netanyahu and Gantz to the White House.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is facing his own scandal. The staunch Trump ally was indicted last year on charges of bribery and fraud. He has denied wrongdoing and said he would seek immunity from the charges.

The Knesset is scheduled to consider the immunity request on Tuesday.

—Updated at 2:10 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Pin It on Pinterest