Israel’s Channel 2 News last weekend reported details of the US plan for future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
According to the report, the plan will be introduced as a regional initiative and will call for the establishment of a Palestinian state. The plan will offer incentives to Israel and the Palestinians. It will formally recognise the extent of Israel’s security needs, including a demand that Israel retain military control over the Jordan Valley, and it will offer the future Palestinian state hundreds of millions of dollars of investment and aid, to be provided by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries
The plan will apparently not make any concrete recommendations regarding the removal of settlements or the final status of Jerusalem.
A senior White House official denied the report and called it “speculation” saying that the “details are primarily a mix of ideas that have existed for years and which aren’t necessarily accurate”. The official added: “Our job is to facilitate a deal that will work for both sides and we have no intention of forcing anything on them.” The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office also denied the report.
In related news, the US State Department announced on Friday that the Palestinians were violating US legal restrictions that state that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) cannot operate a Washington office if they try to get the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.
A senior White House official said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson believes the Palestinians violated that clause in September, when Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas called on the court to investigate and prosecute Israelis.
US President Donald Trump has 90 days to decide whether the Palestinians are in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel”. If Trump determines they are, then the office can reopen. PLO official Saeb Erekat told Kan Radio News that the PA would suspend bilateral relations, should the Trump administration order the PLO to close its office, jeopardising President Trump’s upcoming peace plan.