More political deadlock as Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan falls flat

The proposals have been postponed to after September's election — but could be held back until after next year's US presidential contest


Plans to unveil Donald Trump’s vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace are set to be postponed yet again because of September’s Israeli election, while some White House insiders believe it could even be pushed back to after next year’s US presidential election.

Donald Trump’s senior representative Jason Greenblatt confirmed at a conference organised by the Jerusalem Post in New York on Sunday that the election and subsequent coalition negotiations could lead to another delay in publication.

But at least one senior administration official is already privately predicting that the peace plan will soon become a policy Mr Trump pursues in his second term, if he wins it.

A planned conference in Bahrain next week is not expected to be a major milestone in the peace process and will not be attended by official Israeli or Palestinian representatives.

The “prosperity to peace workshop” in Bahrain, where the economic section of the peace plan was set to be unveiled, was further downgraded after it emerged the Israeli government had not been invited. Instead of finance minister Moshe Kahlon, the expected representative, there are now vague references of “Israeli businesspeople and social society leaders”, but no names have been forthcoming.

The Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas has already said it would boycott the event, and it was not claer what the level of representation would be for major Arab nations including Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. The US has previously announced they would be take part.

At this stage, there seem to be two views within Mr Trump’s team regarding the peace plan.

Jared Kushner, the president’s special advisor and son-in-law who is in charge of drafting the plan, still believes that there is a chance of launching a viable process and has been courting the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, in an attempt to gain support.

But others are already preparing to blame the Palestinians for failure. In an interview with Israel’s Channel 13 television on Tuesday, Mr Greenblatt remarked that if the plan did not succeed, “I will know who was to blame.”

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