WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is meeting with the leaders of Israel’s two largest parties at the White House Monday, as he prepares to present the administration’s Mideast peace plan.
Trump hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before meeting with Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's rival in the upcoming March election. The meeting with Netanyahu was scheduled to last for over an hour, while the meeting with Gantz was scheduled to last between 30 to 45 minutes.
After another meeting on Tuesday at 12 P.M., Netanyahu and Trump are set to hold a joint press appearance, during which details of the administration’s plan are expected to become public. Ahead of his meeting with Netanyahu, Trump said that the plan will be unveiled on Tuesday at 12 P.M. (7 P.M. Israel Time).
10:30 P.M. White House Twitter welcomes Gantz
The White House Twitter account posted a photo of Gantz and Trump, captioned "President @realDonaldTrump welcomed
@gantzbe, leader of Israel’s Blue and White party, to the White House today!"
10:19 P.M. Gantz says will implement plan after election
Benny Gantz told reporters he would move to implement Trump's plan after Israel's March 2 election "in tandem with other countries in the region."
"The president's peace plan is a significant and historic milestone, indeed," he said. "Immediately after the election I will work toward implementing it from within a stable functioning Israeli government."
"President Trump and I also discussed the importance of dialogue with the Palestinians, the neighboring countries and the king of Jordan," Gantz added.
"Trump is a courageous friend of the State of Israel," he said. "I thanked the president for his commitment to Israel's security. I thanked him for recognizing Israeli soveeignity in the Golan Heights and moving the embassy to Jerusalem."
10:05 P.M. Gantz to Trump: Peace plan implementation should wait until after Israeli election
A source in Gantz’s entourage says the Kahol Lavan leader told Trump that the plan should not be implemented until after Israel’s March 2 election.
9:58 P.M. Abbas spokesman calls for Trump plan boycott
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman called on envoys representing Arab or Muslim countries who were invited to the White House for the release of Trump’s plan to boycott the event.
8:57 P.M. Gantz: Trump 'true friend' of the Jewish people
Following his meeting with the president, Gantz tweeted: “President Trump, you are a true friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”
7:36 P.M. Netanyahu and Trump discussed Iran, ICC
Sources in Netanyahu's entourage say the leaders discussed the peace plan to be released tomorrow, but that most of their conversation was centered around Iran, curbing its aggression and the campaign of pressure on the country from all fronts. They also discussed the International Criminal Court case against Israel, and talked at length about strengthening deterrence and U.S. influence in the wake of the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
8:23 P.M. Gantz and Trump conclude meeting
Meetings between Donald Trump and Benny Gantz have ended at the White House.
7:33 P.M. Gantz and Trump meet
Meetings between Donald Trump and Benny Gantz have begun at the White House.
7:16 P.M. PLO committee to convene, Palestinian factions call for mass protests
The PLO Executive Committee will meet in Ramallah Tuesday for an emergency meeting to discuss Trump's peace plan. On the agenda are precautionary steps that can be taken after the plan is officially released.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is holding discussions with leaders from the Arab and Muslim world, and is expected to call for an emergency meeting of the Arab League. Palestinian factions, including Fatah, are calling on Palestinians to participate in mass protests on Tuesday and Thursday at points of friction.
Eyewitnesses say the Israeli military has increased its presence at the Beit El checkpoint out of fear of violent riots at the location.
7:12 P.M. Trump finishes meeting with Netanyahu
The meeting between Trump and Netanyahu has concluded, and the president will soon meet with Gantz.
6:44 P.M. Iranian foreign minister says plan 'delusional'
Iran's foreign minister called U.S. President Donald Trump's peace plan for the Middle East "delusional" in a tweet on Monday.
"Instead of a delusional 'Deal of the Century' - which will be D.O.A.- self-described 'champions of democracy' would do better to accept Iran's democratic solution proposed by Ayatollah @khamenei_ir: A referendum whereby ALL Palestinians -Muslim, Jew or Christian - decide their future," Zarif wrote.
6:39 P.M. Joint List's Ayman Odeh: 'No peace with annexation'
In a Tweet parodying the president's Twitter style, Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh wrote, "We need to talk to Donald Trump in his own language:
"Bad deal. VERY BAD. No peace with annexation. CORRUPT BIBI doesn’t want peace. CHEATING TRUMP doesn’t want peace. They only care about HASINUT!!!! Sad." He said, referring to Netanyahu's bid to gain immunity in his corruption cases.
6:21 P.M. Trump: Palestinians will want the deal in the end
Calling the Palestinians "great negotiators," Trump responded to the Palestinian leadership's opposition to the peace deal, saying that they will "want it in the end."
6:15 P.M. Trump on peace plan: 'We'll see what happens'
Standing alongside Netanyahu, Trump said of his "deal of the century" peace plan, "This is an opportunity, we'll see what happens."
"I think we're relatively close, but we have to get other people to agree on it also." Saying that Arab nations think that the deal is a "great start," he added that they believe it is probably the most difficult deal "of any caliber."
In response to a question about whether releasing the plan now constitutes as election interference in Israel, Trump said: "this is why I'm meeting with Gantz, he will be here today."
2:53 P.M. Calls to restart Gaza border protests over peace deal
The organizing committee of the March of Return in the Gaza Strip called to restart the marches immediately after the announcement is released. The committee called for a general mobilization and to participate in the march in protest of the “Deal of the Century.” At this time, it is still unclear as to whether this is a limited local protest for only the next two days, or whether the weekend protests will begin again. The committee announced at the beginning of the month of a freeze on the protests until March 30 (Jack Khoury).
1:32 P.M. Rabbis call on Netanyahu to reject Palestinian state
Some 40 religious Zionist rabbis have sent a letter to Netanyahu calling on him not to agree to the creation of a Palestinian state as part of Trump's peace plan.
1:02 P.M. Trump's Peace Plan: What to look out for when the deal is unveiled
From Jerusalem to unauthorized outposts, Noa Landau explains what to watch for when the plan is released. Read the full story
12:44 P.M. Interior Minister tours Jordan Valley, hopes to announce 'this is our land' tomorrow
In a tour of the Jordan Valley, Interior Minister Arye Dery says, "We hope that, God willing, we can announce to everyone tomorrow that this is our land."
10:42 A.M. Abbas refuses phone call from Netanyahu
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