White House Nearly Done With Peace Plan But Can’t Decide When To Share It
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration has nearly completed a long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan but is still struggling to decide how and when to roll it out, a senior White House official said, acknowledging that Washington faces a “disconnect” with Palestinians over its planned U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem.
The initiative, which had been widely expected to be released earlier this year, now looks likely to remain on the shelf until its chief architects - President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt - finalize the details and determine the time is right to unveil it.
Their decision could depend on an array of obstacles, not least that one of the two sides in the decades-old conflict – the Palestinians – say they have lost faith in the Trump administration to act as a fair mediator and have boycotted the process since last December’s Jerusalem announcement.
While offering few specifics for a plan that has drawn widespread skepticism even before its unveiling, the official confirmed it would not contain a U.S. commitment to a two-state solution, as the Palestinians had demanded. It will instead stick to Trump’s assertion that he will accept whatever the two sides agree.
The chill between the White House and Palestinians has affected the peace effort, the official acknowledged, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The “disconnect” with Palestinians over Jerusalem “is not a small blip,” the official acknowledged in an interview with Reuters.
Most experts question whether Kushner and Greenblatt, both of whom had no prior diplomatic experience, can achieve any deal.
Among the still-unresolved questions is what the plan will propose for the future of Jerusalem, the official said, citing one of the most sensitive issues in a long history of failed U.S.-led peacemaking.
“We are refining it,” the official said of a peace plan that Trump has boasted could reach the “ultimate deal.” “We are definitely still struggling on Jerusalem … But we are very close to completing it.”