JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz plan to meet separately with President Donald Trump on Monday at the White House.
Before they left on Sunday, both men said the meetings and the administration’s long-awaited peace plan would make history.
"For the last 3 years, I've spoken numerous times with President Trump, a huge friend of Israel, and his team, about those essential interests - on our security, on our justice. And I will meet with President Trump tomorrow and on Tuesday. Together with him, we will make history,” Netanyahu said.
Gantz has similar hopes for the deal.
"The peace plan devised by President Trump will go down in history as a meaningful landmark mapping the way for the different players in the Middle East to finally move forward towards a historic and regional agreement.
Trump said he would likely release the details of the so-called “Deal of the Century” before meeting with Netanyahu and Gantz, but his administration has yet to release any information.
Palestinian leaders have already rejected the deal and have refused to pursue any diplomatic ties with the US since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the US has “lost its credibility to be an honest broker in a serious and genuine political process.”
Citing unnamed sources, Israel’s Channel 12 reported Thursday that Trump’s peace plan calls for Israeli sovereignty throughout Jerusalem and Jewish settlement communities in the West Bank. The administration would reportedly recognize a Palestinian state after the Hamas terror group in Gaza gives up its weapons and the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Channel 12 also reported that the US would give Israel full security control over the Jordan Valley, push for minor lands swaps, and negotiate the possible absorption of Palestinian refugees into Israel. The report said if Israel accepts the deal and the Palestinians reject it, Israel has Washington’s full backing to begin annexing settlement communities.
“If the announcement of this deal, with these unacceptable formulas, is made, the leadership will announce a series of measures to preserve our legitimate rights, and we will call on Israel to assume its responsibilities as an occupying power,” Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said.
He appeared to be referring to previous threats to dissolve the Palestinian Authority, which controls parts of the West Bank. That means Israel will suddenly be responsible for providing basic services to millions of Palestinians.
Meanwhile, Trump said on Twitter that “reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative.”
Gantz and Netanyahu will compete in national elections on March 2nd to be Israel’s next prime minister.
The US was believed to have been delaying the release of the peace plan until Israel has a stable government. The country is holding its third election in under a year in March following the failure of both Netanyahu and Gantz to form a government after two prior elections.