President Donald Trump and his team have begun to draft a peace plan of their own to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the New York Times reported Saturday.
Trump’s Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, have visited the Middle East several times and have met with both sides over the past 10 months, and are now reportedly at the stage of drafting a document which they hope to present by early next year.
Greenblatt told The Times that the US has “spent a lot of time listening to and engaging with the Israelis, Palestinians and key regional leaders over the past few months to help reach an enduring peace deal.” Greenblatt cautioned: “The US is not going to put an artificial timeline on the development or presentation of any specific ideas. Our goal is to facilitate, not dictate, a lasting peace agreement to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians and security across the region.”
Trump’s team sees what the Times described as “the convergence of factors that make the moment ripe,” including a willingness by Arab states to solve the Palestinian issue so that they can refocus their attention on Iran, which they consider a major threat.
While Trump’s team is voicing optimism, nothing has significantly changed so far to indicate that a breakthrough is possible.
Dennis Ross, the veteran Middle East peace negotiator, said Trump’s team has “done a very good job of presenting themselves as having listened” and is now “taken seriously” in the region, the Times reported.
Trump has stated on several occasions that achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be “the ultimate deal.” During a press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in February Trump raised eyebrows when he said, “I’m looking at two states and one state. And I like the one that both parties like.”
Speaking in August, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Trump’s efforts to revive the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.
While Israel welcomed the US’ peace efforts, the Palestinians said they were “pessimistic” about the US’ ability to reignite the peace process, and threatened to resume unilateral initiatives in the international arena.
Arab media on quoted several Palestinian officials, including chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, as saying the current US efforts are “redundant” because the Palestinians “have lost confidence in the Americans as objective mediators.”