Trump Envoy Says No Part of Mideast Peace Plan Will Be Released Before Israeli Election

Jason Greenblatt's announcement comes days after U.S. president sparked speculation by saying 'you may see what the deal looks like before the election'

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deliver remarks before a dinner at Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deliver remarks before a dinner at Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017.Credit: \ POOL/REUTERS

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration won’t release any parts of its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan before the Israeli election on September 17, the president's Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt said Wednesday.

"We have decided that we will not be releasing the peace vision (or parts of it) prior to the Israeli election," Greenblatt wrote on Twitter.

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Earlier on Wednesday, a senior White House official told Haaretz that the right thing for the administration would be to wait until after the election. President Donald Trump told journalists during the G-7 conference earlier this week that “you may see what the deal looks like before the election,” leaving open the possibility that certain parts of the plan would be made public — but Trump also said that "of course" the entire plan wouldn't be released before September 17.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he expects that the United States will release its plan shortly after the election. 

"This evening we learned that President Trump's 'deal of century' would be published and presented to the world after the election," he told a campaign rally following Greenblatt's announcement. "I can reasonably estimate that it will happen very soon after the election." 

While the economic chapter of the plan was unveiled earlier this year, the White House has not released details of the plan's political chapter. The Palestinian leadership is convinced the plan will be heavily tilted toward Israel, and has been boycotting the Trump administration on all levels except for certain security officials since December 2017, when Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and added that he “took Jerusalem off the table."

Trump said at the G-7 conference that he believes “a deal will happen” because the Palestinians will want his administration to renew the financial aid it had cut off from them over the previous two years.

Trump said Netanyahu’s failure to form a coalition government, which caused Israel to go to a new election, had “complicated” his administration’s work on the peace plan.

Less than a month before Israelis last headed to the polls, Trump invited Netanyahu to the White House for a ceremony in which he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Trump also showcased one of Netanyahu’s campaign posters, which featured a picture of them together, on his own social media accounts. In addition, he publicly praised Netanyahu in a press conference during the campaign.

Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, also visited Israel during the election campaign, and his itinerary included a publicized visit to the Western Wall alongside the prime minister. In the midst of a challenging campaign marred by the prime minister's corruption charges, nearly all Israeli news outlets offered broad coverage of the Trump administration's gestures toward Netanyahu. When the prime minister was struggling to assemble a government, Trump took to Twitter to say he hoped a coalition would be formed.

After the new election was called, Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner and the team working with him on the peace plan — which includes Greenblatt, Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Kushner’s adviser Avi Berkowitz — decided to publish the plan’s economic chapter. The administration also organized a conference in Bahrain focused on the economic future of the region. No Palestinian or Israeli officials participated, although private business executives from Israel and the Palestinian territories arrived independently.