U.S. Envoy to Israel: Trump's Peace Plan Won't Be Released for Several Months

U.S. officials have repeatedly said 'deal of the century' will cause discomfort to both Israel and the Palestinians

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said on Sunday that President's Donald Trump's peace plan will not be released for several months.

"We want to release it a way that gives it the best chance of getting a good reception," Friedman said in Jerusalem. The Israeli elections, he added, "are a factor, but not the only factor." 

According to Friedman, the contents of the peace plan are "pretty much completed," but there is additional "wordsmithing and smoothing."

"The challenge to a peace plan is making the case for a much more sober assessment of the realities in this region," he said. "The last time there was a meaningful agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians was 1993. A lot has happened since 1993.”

Last month, a senior White House official said 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. 

In recent weeks, the team inside the White House working on the plan, led by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has hired more staff members in anticipation of the plan’s release.

Last August, U.S. officials told Haaretz the deal "will cause discomfort both in Israel and on the Palestinian side."

"When reading through the plan, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) will be unhappy on some pages and happy on others just as Israelis will be pleased with some pages and uncomfortable on others," one senior administration official explained. 

Last month, eight European Union member states issued a stark warning regarding the plan. A peace plan that would disregard "internationally agreed parameters," namely a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, "would risk being condemned to failure," they said.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in Beersheba, Israel, Dec. 20, 2018
Ariel Schalit,AP