Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Macron To Unveil His Middle East Peace Plan If Trump Delays His Plan

Macron to unveil peace plan soon if Trump doesn't, top diplomat said to tell MKs

If US President Donald Trump does not present his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan next month, France’s President Emmanuel Macron will issue a proposal of his own, a senior Israeli diplomat reportedly told Knesset members at a closed-door briefing.
Alon Ushpiz, the Foreign Ministry’s political director, testified to the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, in a closed session, that France is waiting out November 6’s US midterm elections, but that if Trump does not present his long-awaited plan in the first few weeks after that vote, Macron will publicize his own formula, TV news reports said.
The reports, on Israel’s Channel 10 and Hadashot TV, quoted MKs who were at the session. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said the reports contained inaccuracies.

Channel 10 said Macron had instructed his foreign ministry in late August to explore new ideas for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that the French president had now signaled to Trump that if the US does not move ahead, Paris will. The Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry were spending considerable time discussing the possible Macron plan, the TV reports said.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee said the reports “do not properly reflect” Ushpiz’s remarks to lawmakers.
“Naturally, due to the [closed] forum, we cannot elaborate beyond this,” the spokesperson said.
The reports came a day after Channel 10 quoted Trump last month telling Macron that he was prepared to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the administration’s long-gestating peace initiative.
Trump and Netanyahu are reportedly set to travel to Paris around November 11 for World War I centenary ceremonies hosted by Macron.
Also Monday, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner expressed impatience with the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock, telling CNN: “The status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is not acceptable. The situation is only getting worse. At some point, the leaders will have to take a bold step and make compromise. We hope to find leaderships that are ready to do so.”
According to Tuesday evening’s TV reports, Ushpiz also told MKs on Monday that Israel expects the Democrats to make gains in next month’s midterm elections, and that this would have impact and implications for Israel. He reportedly called the midterms “critical” for Israel, and said Israel anticipates the Democrats will make gains in Congress and “things won’t be the same.”

Trump said at a meeting with Netanyahu last month that he expected to publish his plan within four months. Speaking to The Times of Israel last month, Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, said the plan “will include a resolution to all of the core issues, including the refugee issue,” and will “be heavily focused on Israeli security needs.”

Greenblatt added: “But we also want to be fair to the Palestinians. We have tried hard to find a good balance. Each side will find things in this plan that they don’t like. There are no perfect solutions.”
Kushner said Monday that a “reasonable” Palestinian leadership will be willing to negotiate with Israel based on the Trump plan.
The Palestinian Authority has preemptively rejected the plan and has boycotted the Trump administration since it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year.

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