Senior White House Official: Israeli Early Elections a Factor in Trump Peace Plan Publication

Official's statement makes it clear that the administration has yet to decide when to release the plan, which Trump previously said would be published by January 2019

President Donald Trump speaks at the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, December 2018.
AFP

WASHINGTON - A senior White House official said Monday that the Israeli decision to dissolve the coalition and go to elections on April 9 is "one of many factors we are considering in evaluating the timing of the release of the peace plan."

The White House official’s response made it clear that the administration hasn’t yet decided when to release the plan. President Trump said in September that the plan will be released within four months, setting January 2019 as the deadline for its publication. 

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Now, however, there is an internal debate within the administration on whether it’s best to stick with this date, or wait until after the election in Israel.

Israel's coalition heads announced Monday that they have decided to hold elections on April 9, adding that the Knesset will be dissolved ahead of the elections.

The Knesset is expected to dissolve by the end of the week.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the coalition heads unanimously agreed to hold elections on April 9, adding that he wants the current coalition to form the nucleus of the next government. The prime minister called on Israeli voters to give the government a clear mandate to continue governing on its current path.

Netanyahu said Israel can head to elections now, as opposed to a month and a half ago, when Avigdor Lieberman resigned as defense minister and the premier urged his partners to avoid heading to elections over security concerns.

Last month, when the threat of early elections loomed over the coalition in the wake of the resignation of former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a White House official told Haaretz that there was no change in the administration's intentions regarding the peace plan. 

"President Trump said in New York in September that we would be releasing the plan in two  to four months. That remains our timeframe,” the official stated. The same official added that they would avoid any “speculation” about how a possible election in Israel could impact the plan’s rollout efforts.