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July 26, 2018 10:21 am

Official: Trump Team Preparing Economic Plan as Part of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Proposal

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From left: US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Special Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, White House adviser Jared Kushner, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, meeting in Jerusalem on June 22, 2018. Photo: US Embassy in Israel.

A long-awaited Middle East peace plan from the Trump administration will include what the White House is calling a robust economic plan to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an official has said.

US President Donald Trump’s envoys are also working on the most detailed set of proposals to date for the overall plan, the White House official said in a briefing with reporters on Monday.

The plan thus far has no release date. Trump had hoped to reveal it early this year but his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the embassy there, reversing decades of US policy, inflamed tensions in the region.

The Palestinians have said that 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.

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The White House has offered few details on a peace plan that has drawn widespread skepticism even before its unveiling.

Trump’s proposals are the product of shuttle diplomacy to regional capitals by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and Jason Greenblatt, a lawyer who is playing a role in the negotiations.

The two envoys have asked leaders in the region to outline for each issue an outcome that they could live with and that the other side could accept, the official said.

Past attempts by American presidents at negotiating peace between Israel and the Palestinians have fizzled based on differences over the status of Jerusalem and borders, among other matters.

The Trump team has studied past efforts as a guidepost to the future, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said the Trump plan would be the most detailed package of solutions ever offered and that some finishing touches were being put on the main proposals and economic plans.

A rollout strategy was being developed, the official said.

Trump had asked his team how the embassy announcement would affect peace negotiations. He was told it would cause some short-term disruption, but that long-term the prospects for peace would be improved, the official said.

Despite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to engage on the subject, Trump’s advisers expect the Palestinian leadership to read it and provide some realistic feedback and offer some proposals on how to improve it, the official said.

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