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Netanyahu Meets Berkowitz to Discuss Releasing US Peace Plan Ahead of Elections

Netanyahu Meets Berkowitz to Discuss Releasing US Peace Plan Ahead of Elections

Wednesday, 8 January, 2020 - 12:30
US President’s Special Envoy to the Middle East Avi Berkowitz (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat
US President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy to the Middle East Avi Berkowitz held a closed meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday during his one-day visit.

According to leaks and press analyses, both sides discussed the possibility of releasing the US peace plan to settle the Israeli-Arab conflict, aka the “Deal of the Century,” ahead of the Israeli elections, scheduled to be held on March 2.

Sources said the US administration has been complaining about the political crisis inside Israel, forcing it to repeat the elections three times.

Americans view this crisis as a sign of weakness rather than the “democracy’s power” as Netanyahu is trying to show. Trump is frustrated, and thus he no longer meets with Netanyahu and rarely contacts him.

Washington is concerned about releasing the plan ahead of the elections, sources noted, fearing it would become a primary issue in the electoral battle and be backed by the next premier, who will be supported by the public.

In order to maintain balance between political components in Israel, Berkowitz also met with Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main challenger in the coming elections.

This was Berkowitz’s first visit to Tel Aviv since he assumed his post in November, succeeding Jason Greenblatt.

The plan has been put since one year now but hasn’t yet been released due to the political uncertainty in Israel.

The first part of the proposal was presented last summer during the so-called Peace to Prosperity workshop in Manama, Bahrain.

It dealt exclusively with financial incentives for the Palestinians in case a peace plan was concluded.

The publication of the other part, which deals with the political dimensions of a proposed solution, was repeatedly delayed due to the lack of a full-fledged elected government in Jerusalem.

In December, US media reported that the peace team was expected to decide whether to release the peace plan now or postpone it after the US elections.

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