Israeli government sources fear that the U.S. peace plan will include a declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of two states – Israeli and Palestinian – in an effort to convince Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table, according to a report in the daily Yediot Aharonot newspaper.
Abbas has been boycotting Americans since Washington recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Political sources explain that since then Trump Administration officials have been racking their brains to bring him back to the negotiating table, and also to win the support of the Arab world.
In Israel, they fear that the bait that the White House will offer Abbas will be a declaration of Jerusalem as the future capital of the “Palestinian state. A senior Israeli source told the newspaper that U.S. President Donald Trump “wants a deal and it’s very serious.
The inclusion of Jerusalem in the peace plan could be problematic for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, especially in the face of Israeli elections. Netanyahu could tell Americans that such an exercise would provoke rejection on the political right and lead to a crisis in the coalition. In such a case, Israel may ask to postpone the release of the plan until after the elections in Israel.
Nonetheless, the daily Yediot Aharonot notes that there are many factors in the Washington administration that will try to ensure that the promise to include Jerusalem in the agreement is not offered to Palestinians, including Ambassador David Fridman and other U.S. officials.