Trump Peace Plan on Course Despite Israeli Election Talk, Official Says

White House official tells Haaretz the administration still plans to publish its Mideast plan within the next two months

U.S. President Donald Trump at the Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris, Nov. 11, 2018
Christian Hartmann,AP

WASHINGTON - Despite the looming possibility of new elections in Israel, the Trump administration remains committed to releasing its Middle East peace plan within the next two months. A White House official told Haaretz on Thursday, a day after the resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 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.

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.

Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that Trump “was showing increasing frustration that the Israeli leader - with whom he’s forged a close personal bond - wasn’t doing more to help the plan come to fruition.” The report, citing “two people familiar with the matter,” said that “Trump complained in recent meetings that Netanyahu hasn’t been 'flexible’ or ‘forward-leaning’ enough on the plan.”

Jason Greenblatt, the administration’s special envoy to the Middle East peace process, was in Israel last week and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This week, he strongly denounced Hamas for firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli communities in southern Israel. He has not had any official contacts with the Palestinian Authority for close to a year, ever since Trump decided to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.