Trump’s plan isn’t about peace between Israelis and Palestinians

As rivals Netanyahu and Gantz get White House invite, Washington’s proposal could be a basis for long-elusive Israeli unity government, and a springboard for annexing settlements

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu after formal recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, 25 March 2019.

Jacob Magid writes in The Times:

In preparation for the release of his administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan, US President Donald Trump invited the leaders of both parties to the White House next week to discuss his proposal.  “They both would like to do the deal. They want to see peace,” Trump told reporters Thursday on Air Force One.

To be clear though, “both” wasn’t referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but rather to Netanyahu and his domestic political rival, Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz.

With the PA all but having severed its ties to Washington after the Trump administration’s 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital  — followed by the shutting of the PLO representative office in Washington, moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the slashing of hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians and the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees — the Trump administration no longer has an address to communicate with in Ramallah.

Asked by reporters if he had even been in touch with the Palestinian leadership regarding his proposal, the US president appeared to balk. “We’ve spoken to them briefly. But we will speak to them in a period of time.”

So why go forward with a wedding when only one partner is present?  That question is only relevant if one assumes that the marriage is meant to be between Israelis and Palestinians. The Trump administration, however, appears to have other ideas in mind.

By inviting Netanyahu and Gantz to the White House on Tuesday, Trump sets the stage for the latest round of Israeli unity government negotiations, which failed to bear fruit after the April and September elections and thus forced another election this coming March.

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