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Trump team keeps Middle East peace plan secret

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 10, 2019 - Duration: 02:13s

Trump team keeps Middle East peace plan secret

In a White House where no secret is safe for long, one development has remained stubbornly confidential - the contents of a Middle East peace plan authored by President Donald Trump’s advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.

Zachary Goelman reports.

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Trump team keeps Middle East peace plan secret

U.S. President Donald Trump greeted the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with optimism, saying it improved the chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Everybody said you can't have peace in the Middle East with Israel and the Palestinians.

But I think we have a chance, and I think we have now a better chance with Bibi having won." The White House has been promising a peace plan for two years, which could be unveiled soon.

But very few people have seen a draft of the proposal.

That's because the authors, namely Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep it confidential in an administration characterized by leaks.

White House correspondent Steve Holland.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT STEVE HOLLAND, SAYING: TK TK TK (SOUNDBITE) (English) WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER JARED KUSHNER, SAYING (FEBRUARY 25, 2019) (SKY NEWS ARABIA - MANDATORY ON-SCREEN CREDIT SKY NEWS ARABIA): "Hopefully if we can resolve this issue, we will be able to see a lot more opportunity for the Palestinian people, for the Israeli people, and for the people throughout the region." Kushner met with officials in Israel, the Palestinian territories, and the Arab Gulf States earlier this year, soliciting input but offering little insight into his proposal.

And this opacity is viewed by many through the lens of the Trump administration's unabashedly pro-Israel stance.

The White House moved its embassy to Jerusalem, recognized Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, and cut international aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SAYING: "Mr. President, over the years Israel has been blessed to have many friends who sat in the Oval Office, but Israel has never had a better friend than you." All of this delighting Netanyahu, a right-wing politician long skeptical of negotiations with Palestinians.

It's unknown whether the Kushner plan will call for an independent Palestinian state, a core Arab demand.

Some worry the proposal will be unpalatable to Palestinians, who will then be blamed for rejecting the offer.

A top negotiator said this last year: (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR, SAEB EREKAT, SAYING: "the United States administration of President Trump has actually moved from the squares of negotiations to the squares of dictations.

They are determined to dictate a solution.

They walked away from the negotiating table." A senior White House official says Trump HAS BEEN briefed on Kushner's plan… but is NOT believed to have read the entire proposal.

He's repeated told Kushner's team, "If you guys can get this done you’re going to be the greatest negotiators in history."

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