Trump Ad­min Ready­ing Is­raeli-Pales­tinian Peace Plan

The Jewish Voice - - NATIONAL - By: Adam Kredo

The United States is in the "late phases" of finalizing its Is­raeli-Pales­tinian peace plan that will be pre­sented to both par­ties for con­sid­er­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior White House of­fi­cial, who dis­cussed progress on the mat­ter ahead of a mas­sive cel­e­bra­tion in Is­rael to open the new U.S. em­bassy in Jerusalem.

Fes­tiv­i­ties sur­round­ing the open­ing of the new U.S. em­bassy build­ing in Jerusalem kicked off in "grand fash­ion" over the week­end and will spill into Mon­day af­ter­noon when U.S, Is­raeli, and in­ter­na­tional diplo­mats gather to for­mally open the new em­bassy build­ing, ac­cord­ing to se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials.

The U.S. presidential del­e­ga­tion touched down in Is­rael Sun­day af­ter­noon and quickly en­tered into a series of cel­e­bra­tions and bi­lat­eral meet­ings with Is­raeli of­fi­cials. At a din­ner or­ga­nized by the Friends of Zion Mu­seum, U.S. Am­bas­sador to Is­rael David Fried­man and se­nior presidential ad­viser Jared Kush­ner, also the pres­i­dent's son-in-law, were pre­sented awards for their ef­forts to spear­head the em­bassy move.

While se­cu­rity re­mains tight amid fears of pos­si­ble vi­o­lence by Pales­tinian pro­tes­tors, U.S. of­fi­cials said the mood around Jerusalem is cel­e­bra­tory, with "peo­ple out in the streets car­ry­ing Amer­i­can and Is­raeli flags," ac­cord­ing to one se­nior White House of­fi­cial who is in Is­rael for the em­bassy open­ing.

"Ob­vi­ously se­cu­rity is a con­cern, but it's not an over­whelm­ing feel­ing right now," the of­fi­cial said, speak­ing only on back­ground.

As the United States takes a his­toric step to­wards rec­og­niz­ing Jerusalem as Is­rael's capi­tol, a point ve­he­mently protested by Pales­tinian lead­ers, the se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial told the Free Bea­con that this new re­al­ity is not be­ing viewed as an im­ped­i­ment to peace.

The United States is in the "late phase," in fact, of finalizing its peace plan that will be pre­sented to both sides in the com­ing months.

The plan has been in the works for at least the past year, ac­cord­ing to Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials, and will be pre­sented "when the time is right."

"We've been work­ing hard and want to give the plan the best chance for suc­cess," a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial told the Free Bea­con. "We want to get a last­ing deal that is liv­able for both par­ties."

De­tails of the plan are be­ing kept tightly un­der wraps, but it is ex­pected a pub­lic roll out of the peace plan will ar­rive within the next month to two months, sources said.

"We're not go­ing to pre­view el­e­ments of the plan be­cause no one is go­ing to like ev­ery­thing in it—so any­thing you re­veal is go­ing to make some­one an­gry be­cause it will not be in con­text," the ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said, ex­plain­ing that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is be­ing ex­tremely sen­si­tive to both sides.

How­ever, it has be­come clear since Trump an­nounced the em­bassy move that the United States is stand­ing firmly be­hind a new re­al­ity—that Jerusalem is in fact Is­rael's cap­i­tal—a dec­la­ra­tion that has re­versed long­stand­ing U.S. pol­icy on the mat­ter, par­tic­u­larly that of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, which rou­tinely de­clined to state that Jerusalem is part of Is­rael proper.

The em­bassy open­ing "makes clear what our po­si­tion is and our pri­or­i­ties and a recog­ni­tion of re­al­ity," the se­nior White House of­fi­cial said. "It is our hope that recog­ni­tion for the Pales­tini­ans that Is­rael isn't go­ing away is go­ing to be clar­i­fy­ing for them."

This does not mean the United States is tak­ing a firm po­si­tion on ne­go­ti­at­ing terms known as fi­nal-sta­tus, which ac­counts for the borders of var­i­ous ter­ri­to­ries that would be agreed upon by the Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans.

It "doesn't mean we're wan­der­ing with maps draw­ing other things," the of­fi­cial said. "We are mov­ing into a new phase and they [the Pales­tini­ans] have a big op­por­tu­nity with this new pres­i­dent, who's quite sup­port­ive of them."

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is also push­ing other al­lies to re­lo­cate their em­bassies, a pol­icy that is be­ing met with good re­cep­tion de­spite me­dia re­ports in­di­cat­ing oth­er­wise, mul­ti­ple sources con­firmed.

Those at­tend­ing the em­bassy open­ing rep­re­sent a broad swath of Democrats and Repub­li­cans, ac­cord­ing to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

It's a very bi­par­ti­san crowd and "not just a bunch of Repub­li­cans," the ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial con­firmed.

Former Sen. Joe Lieber­man and Obama-era am­bas­sador to Is­rael Daniel Shapiro are both in at­ten­dance, as well as many other Democrats.

It "re­ally speaks to how this is a bi­par­ti­san con­sen­sus across the gov­ern­ment" sup­port­ing the em­bassy move to Jerusalem. "This is some­thing that Con­gress pro­posed more than 20 years ago and there's a strong sense this is the will of the Amer­i­can peo­ple and the Is­raeli peo­ple," the of­fi­cial said.

The em­bassy move also has bol­stered the al­liance be­tween the United States and Is­rael, which is fo­cus­ing in the short term on aid­ing Is­rael's de­fense forces amid grow­ing and on­go­ing threats by ter­ror­ist proxy groups backed by Iran.

"The threats aren't go­ing to go away. This al­liance is mov­ing into a new phase of co­op­er­a­tion," which will see the United States "mind­ful of the threats to Is­rael's north­ern bor­der" by Hezbol­lah, an Ira­nian-backed ter­ror group.

Ha­mas-led pro­tes­tors also have been fo­ment­ing clashes along Is­rael's bor­der with the Gaza Strip, a mat­ter the United States is de­fer­ring to Is­raeli se­cu­rity au­thor­i­ties on.

As to the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion, "it re­ally doesn't feel any dif­fer­ent than be­ing in Jerusalem any other time," the ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial told the Free Bea­con. "Any­time there's a high pro­file event and del­e­ga­tion like this it pays to be con­cerned and keep an eye on things. I think to­mor­row will be con­tin­ued very strong co­or­di­nated se­cu­rity be­tween the U.S. and Is­rael and we're hop­ing all that hard work pays off. This should not be a cause for vi­o­lence, there should be a cause for cel­e­bra­tion."

One source who rou­tinely ad­vises the White House on Mid­dle East is­sues told the Free Bea­con that ob­jec­tions to the em­bassy move by some Euro­pean coun­tries have fallen flat, only re­in­forc­ing the the wide­spread in­ter­na­tional sup­port for the move.

"When the pres­i­dent an­nounced he was mov­ing the em­bassy the swamp said he was mak­ing a huge mis­take and there would be end­less global vi­o­lence and Amer­i­can iso­la­tion," the source said, re­fer­ring to ef­forts by former Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials and lib­eral talk­ing heads to op­pose the move in the press. "In­stead the Euro­pean Union can't even mount a sym­bolic condemnation be­cause there are too many coun­tries look­ing to fol­low our lead­er­ship."

The United States is in the “late phases” of finalizing its Is­raeliPales­tinian peace plan that will be pre­sented to both par­ties for con­sid­er­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior White House of­fi­cial

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