Trump meets Netanyahu and Ganz as he readies Mideast peace plan 1

Trump meets Netanyahu and Ganz as he readies Mideast peace plan


Washington: US President Donald Trump will hold a back-to-back meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli opposition leader Benny Ganz on Monday to prepare him for a long-delayed peace plan in the Middle East.

The schedule released by the White House shows that Trump will first meet with Netanyahu, the senior right-wing leader of Israel, and then meet with the chosen opponent, Ganz. Gantz rejected last week’s announcement of the peace plan prior to the vote in Israel in March.

He will meet Netanyahu again on Tuesday, and they are scheduled to give a joint speech.

An American source familiar with the case said that Trump can share some details of his plan during discussions with two Israeli politicians.

Netanyahu said: “Today I’m going to Washington to stay with an American president. He has proposed a plan that I believe will promote our main interests … with him we’ll make history.”

Trump said last week that he would publish details of his peace initiative before meeting Netanyahu and Ganz, but the White House did not reveal when the plan would be announced.

In stark contrast to Netanyahu’s expected wealth and high security that arrived on Sunday, Gantz, a former general who led the Israeli centrist blue and white party, accompanied the commercial flight.

“This is a very important visit,” he told Reuters after landing at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington. When asked what he hoped to achieve, Gantz said: “Good relationship, explanation and understanding between the president and me.”

How his visit to Washington can influence his prospects for the elections is not attractive.

Gantz called Trump’s plan an “important milestone on Saturday, with which various players in the Middle East could finally pave the way to history and regional agreements.”

The political aspects of the plan to end the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine have remained firmly in place, although the economic component has been revealed.

When Trump prepared to inform Netanyahu and Ganz, Palestinian leaders said they had no connection with the US government. They warned that without them no transaction would be possible.

Trump has made a series of decisions that welcome Israel and that have made the Palestinians angry. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and cut humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Trump officials say the proposal is dozens of pages long and addresses complex political issues between Israel and the Palestinians, such as the status of Jerusalem.

In a speech for reporters on Thursday, Trump said that Palestinians might initially react negatively to his plans, but “are actually very positive towards them.”

The launch of the plan has been repeatedly delayed in the last two years. US officials have decided to move forward instead of waiting for the Israeli elections, since the last two elections have put the Israeli government at an impasse.

A source told Reuters last week that adding Netanyahu and Ganz was to the details to remove any suggestion that Trump would choose one candidate over the other.

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