Trump announces what he says is a ‘win-win’ Middle East peace ‘vision’
(CBS News) — President Trump announced the outlines of a proposal for Middle East peace as he stood next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House East Room on Tuesday. The plan is merely a “suggestion,” in the words of Mr. Trump, and a “vision,” as the White House and Treasury Department described it in news releases after the president’s announcement.
It took less than three hours for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to declare the plan dead on arrival, saying “a thousand no’s” to the idea and calling it a “conspiracy.”
Mr. Trump recognized that Palestinians weren’t likely to support the plan at first, but dismissed any concerns. The president described the proposal as a “win-win,” “two-state” solution. Under the proposal, Jerusalem would remain the “undivided” capital of Israel, and Israel would be able to annex territory for its new state. The president insisted he wants this to be a “great deal” for the Palestinians so they can achieve an “independent state of their very own.”
“I want this deal to be a great deal for the Palestinians. It has to be,” the president said from the East Room, claiming this proposal would double the Palestinian territory.
The president later tweeted out a proposed map.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told reporters on a conference call that, although the Palestinians aren’t at the table now, they have four years to come to it.
“They’re not here today but they have four years to really figure this out, and I think that’s more than enough time,” Friedman said.
Mr. Trump said both Netanyahu and his challenger, Benny Gantz, support the proposal, saying, “peace transcends politics.” The president met with both Netanyahu and Gantz at the White House on Monday. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was tasked with developing much of the plan.
“If Jared Kushner can’t do it, it can’t be done,” the president said of mending Israeli-Palestinian relations to the Israeli American Council in Florida in December.
The announcement comes shortly after Netanyahu was formally indicted, after dropping his request for immunity.
The president unveiled his Middle East peace proposal as his lawyers were preparing to make their final arguments against removing him from office in the Senate impeachment trial.
During his announcement, the president couldn’t help but praise his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for berating an NPR journalist. According to NPR, Pompeo blasted NPR host Mary Louise Kelly, who had asked him about Ukraine. Pompeo issued his own statement after the interview ridiculing the reporter.
“That was very impressive. That reporter couldn’t have done too good a job on you yesterday. I think you did a good job on her, actually,” the president told Pompeo, a comment met by laughter from some in the East Room.
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