President Donald Trump welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House Monday, one day before the U.S. leader will unveil a Middle East peace plan that was originally promised four months ago.
The plan has been closely-guarded by the administration since the middle of last year. The economic portion of the plan, dubbed Peace to Prosperity, was shown last June and criticized by Palestinians and other international leaders. At the time, Trump said he would unveil the rest of the plan after Israel’s elections in September.
At the White House Monday, Trump sounded optimistic while standing next to Netanyahu. He said the plan will be unveiled at noon EST on Tuesday.
“We’re going to show a plan that’s been worked on by everybody, and we’ll see whether or not it catches hold,” Trump said. “If it does, that would be great. And if it doesn’t, we can live with that too, but I think we might have a chance.”
Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz was also expected to visit the White House on Monday.
Netanyahu and Gantz said Sunday that Trump would “make history” when he releases the plan. The U.S. president invited both men to the White House so the unveiling of the plan would not appear a political gesture toward either. Both Israeli leaders have been working for months, unsuccessfully, to form a unity government. In another attempt at reaching a coalition government, Israel will stage its third election in less than a year in March.
Trump and Netanyahu appeared Monday as they each face their own domestic crisis. Trump faces potential, though unlikely, removal from office in a Senate impeachment trial and Netanyahu was indicted last fall on corruption charges in Israel.
Palestinian leaders have said there will be no peace with Israel if it goes ahead with annexing the Jordan Valley, something both Netanyahu and Gantz have promised.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in the meantime, has scheduled meetings with Arab and Muslim leaders around the world and plans to call for an emergency meeting of the Arab League following the release of the U.S. peace plan. Some Palestinians have called for mass protests Tuesday and Thursday to oppose the U.S. strategy.
“[Palestinians] probably won’t want it initially, but I think in the end they will,” Trump said. “I think in the end they’re going to want it. It’s very good for them. In fact, it’s overly good to them, so we’ll see what happens.”
Copyright 2020 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.