Israeli television said on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan would propose a Palestinian state on as much as 90 percent of the occupied West Bank, with a capital in East Jerusalem – but not including its holy sites, reports Reuters.
The Trump administration has said publication of the plan, kept closely under wraps, could be months away, and cautioned against speculation about its contents.
Citing what it said was a source briefed by the Americans, Reshet 13 TV said the plan would entail Israel annexing Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank while isolated settlements would either be evacuated or their construction halted.
Trump wants the proposed Israeli moves to be supplemented by territorial swaps with the Palestinians, and for East Jerusalem’s walled Old City – site of major Jewish, Muslim and Christian shrines – to be under Israeli sovereignty but with the joint management of the Palestinians and Jordan, the report said.
It said that “most Arab neighbourhoods” in East Jerusalem would be under Palestinian sovereignty as a future capital.
Israel calls all of Jerusalem its “eternal and undivided capital”, a status not recognised internationally. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, including the Al Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City, as capital of a future state.
The report made no mention of the fate of Palestinian refugees, another core dispute in the decades-old conflict, or of how the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas Islamists opposed to peace with Israel, might fit into the plan.
Israeli and Palestinian officials did not immediately respond to the Reshet 13 report. A senior White House official said only: “As in the past, speculation with regards to the content of the plan is not accurate.”
In separate remarks to reporters, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, predicted that the Trump plan would not be released before an Israeli election on April 9.
Opinion polls predict an easy win that would secure a fifth term for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a rightist whose US-sponsored peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stalled in 2014.
“From what we understand, it will not be presented before the election,” Danon said. “It’s a smart decision because we don’t want it to become the issue of the elections.”