Netanyahu Tells Cabinet Ministers: Trump Prepping Peace Plan, Determined to Make Progress

According to ministers present at security cabinet meeting, Netanyahu discussed his meetings with Trump, Egypt's Sissi: 'Trump conveyed his seriousness' ■ Trump's peace envoy heads to Israel on Monday to continue talks with both sides

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Palace Hotel in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, September 18, 2017.
Evan Vucci/AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the weekly security cabinet meeting on Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump is working on a peace plan aimed at an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Netanyahu noted that his meeting with Trump impressed that the U.S. president is quite determined to advance his plan. Trump's envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, will arrive in Israel on Monday to continue talks with both sides.

During the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu briefed ministers on his recent trips to Latin America and the UN General Assembly, giving particular regard to his meeting with Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

"There's no doubt that the Palestinian topic is a heavy and important matter for Trump," Netanyahu said at the cabinet meeting, according to ministers present. "Trump conveyed his seriousness about this. The Americans are preparing a plan, and I presented our positions to the president. Trump is very determined and wants to reach the ultimate deal."

A senior White House official said that Greenblatt would arrive in Israel on Monday and hold talks with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah, following Trump's meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York.

"While President Trump had productive meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas at the United Nations, Jason Greenblatt is headed back to Israel to continue the peace track," the senior White House official said. "He will have follow-up meetings that are part of the administration’s quiet, steady discussions toward peace."

Trump told Abbas during their meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last Wednesday that the White House was working on a new U.S. peace initiative, but needed more time to formulate it.

According to Palestinian and American sources involved in the meeting, Trump asked Abbas for more time to draft the proposal and to avoid any measures that would impede the process.

Senior Palestinian officials said that in the wake of the meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the Palestinian leadership expected the White House to put forth a proposal or a position paper on the renewal of negotiations within a few weeks.

A senior White House aide noted that Trump’s Middle East advisers – in particular Jared Kushner and Greenblatt – are continuing their conversations with Israeli and Palestinian representatives, but believe there is no point in creating an artificial or arbitrary schedule for talks.