Trump to hold Camp David summit with Arab leaders

US President Donald Trump will hold a summit with Arab leaders at Camp David in September to discuss his plan for Israeli-Palestinian talks.

According to a report in Israel’s Yediot Ahronot, Jared Kushner will invite participants to the summit this week when he visits a number of Arab countries. A Washington source said the summit will be held before the Israeli elections in September and US President Donald Trump intends to present the broad outline of the US plan.

The report says the plan will likely call for a new Palestinian entity to be formed in the West Bank, but not necessarily a state; nor will the plan call for Jerusalem to be divided into separate Israeli and Palestinian capitals, but it will recognise a Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem.

The Washington source added that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be invited to the summit as it is believed his presence would be considered an impediment to the Arab states attending. The US administration hopes that the Arab leaders will legitimise the plan by their participation in the summit.

Israeli commentator Nahum Barnea said that the Israeli Security Cabinet’s decision yesterday to consider legalising 700 Palestinians homes in Area C of the West Bank is: “Designed to help Kushner, not the Palestinians. It is supposed to facilitate his efforts to persuade the Arab world. Kushner and his entourage will hold talks in Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”

Barnea argues that the summit could help Netanyahu’s election campaign as it would frame the Prime Minister as a global leader who is sought even by Arab leaders. Barnea suggests that: “The Arab leaders’ situation is more complex. They are going to have to decide what is more important to them – Trump or the Palestinians. More precisely, Trump or public sentiment in their countries.”

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas met last week with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman to discuss Kushner’s visit. Following the meeting, Jordan issued a statement in support of the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayeh said yesterday that: “For the first time since 1948, the demographic balance is in favour of the Palestinians … either the two-state solution or a demographic death; either the two-state solution or no democratic or Jewish state; either the two-state solution or a racist regime in practice and law; either the two-state solution or no peace.”