Israel to Approach Trump Peace Plan ‘according to Security, National Interests’

Will Trump achieve Middle East peace? U.S. President Donald Trump (left) meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right). Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially addressed the reports surrounding a potential Israel-Palestinian peace plan by the Trump Administration on Sunday, although he refused to get pulled into the “speculation” on what the plan would propose. “We heard plenty of speculations over the weekend; I am not planning to address them,” said Netanyahu on the Trump plan in comments released by his office. “I would like to say however, that my attitude towards this plan will be determined according to security and national interests of the State of Israel, and these were made clear to our American friends.”

The Israeli leader’s comments come as Israeli media reported that the Trump plan would be detailed with specific ideas on a two-state solution. Haaretz cited a report by Israel Television News saying the plan would involve a Palestinian state with land swaps with Israel, although the 1967 armistice lines may not be the baseline standard used. Jerusalem’s status and any potential evacuation of Israeli settlements would be deferred, per the report. Haaretz, however, said that the White House denied the report, saying the stated specifics are nothing more than “guessing” and citing pre-existing ideas.

Even if the reports may be inaccurate, the territorial dimensions of a Palestinian state would be a key detail in any specific peace plan. The Palestinians have long insisted on using the lines established by the ceasefire between Israel, Egypt and Jordan that ended the 1967 war. That would give them the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, the Biblical city of Jerusalem and Gaza.

It would also leave Israel with hundreds of thousands of settlers to evacuate and serious security concerns, not to mention the religious and cultural implications.

The Jerusalem Post, while not listing any specifics in the Trump plan, cited senior White House officials in reporting that the plan as described to them would be highly detailed, rather than another “roadmap” for peace.

The timing of Netanyahu’s addressing of a Trump plan overall as a given and not just an idea, while noting that Israel’s intentions were provided to the Americans, comes just days after a national security meeting between the nations.

Israeli spokesman Ofir Gendelman said on Twitter that last week the Israeli National Security Council met with a US delegation led by members of the White House National Security Council.

Gendelman did not include the peace plan as a topic of discussion, but did tweet that “during this visit, Israeli and US officials discussed high priority security matters, including developments in Syria and the opportunity President Trump has created to address the flaws” of the Iranian nuclear deal “and ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, November 19, 2017)

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