Trump unveils long-stalled ‘Deal of the Century’ for Middle East peace

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump unveiled details of his administration’s long-stalled plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians on Tuesday, though the proposal’s critics warned before its release it has little chance of success because of its pro-Israel slant. 

Trump’s plan is intended to defuse decades of hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians. In a surprise move, the initiative called for an independent Palestine sitting alongside Israel – a “two-state” solution – with East Jerusalem serving as its capital. Details about the initiative’s economic proposals, including $50 billion in infrastructure spending and investment over 10 years for the Palestinian territories and neighbors Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, have been previously announced. 

But the plan’s political aspects have been a closely guarded secret. Its release, after three years in the making, comes as Trump hosts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief political rival Benny Gantz at the White House to discuss the plan. It was not clear if an invitation was extended to Palestinian leaders. 

Rep. Rashida Tlaib's 90-year-old grandmother has offered to host President Trump if and when his Israel-Palestine peace plan is put forth.

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The peace plan has been spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, White House adviser Avi Berkowitz, former Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, the United States Ambassador to Israel. All four men have deep religious and educational ties to Israel – factors that have undermined their legitimacy as honest brokers in the eyes of many Palestinians.

Trump’s plan was delayed in part by back-to-back elections in Israel last year that left Netanyahu in a virtual tie with Gantz, with neither able to cobble together a ruling coalition. A third election is planned for early March. The deadlock was deepened by Netanyahu’s indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges. Netanyahu pulled a request for immunity from prosecution over these charges just hours before parliamentary proceedings over the issue were set to begin in Israel on Tuesday.

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing. 

‘It’s a great plan’: Trump to release peace proposal before meeting with Israeli leaders

The sign for "Trump Heights," a planned Israeli development in the Golan Heights intended to recognize President Donald Trump's pro-Israel policy actions. (Photo: Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY)

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