Trump to host Arab leaders at peace summit before Israeli election - report

Trump to host Arab leaders at peace summit before Israeli election - report

A source in Washington said that Netanyahu will not attend the summit because it will make it harder for Arab leaders to join.

The Trump administration will host an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit at Camp David before Israel’s September elections, according to a report on Wednesday in the Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot.

Jared Kushner is planning to personally invite the Arab leaders during his trip to the Middle East which starts on Thursday with a stop in Jerusalem. The summit will be held at Camp David, at which President Donald Trump will lay out his vision for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in general terms, the Wednesday report said. Kushner will visit six countries, including Israel, in the next week. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer were reportedly involved in planning the summit. Dermer reportedly flew to Israel to discuss it with Netanyahu. However, a source in Washington told Yediot that Netanyahu will not attend the summit because it will make it harder for Arab leaders to participate. 

Though details of what will be discussed at the summit remain unclear, it was reported that Trump will speak not about a Palestinian state but an entity and that he will refer to an Arab presence in East Jerusalem, but not about it serving as a capital for a future Palestinian state. This would allow Netanyahu to commend the US president for his efforts but also express some reservations. 

The Palestinians are expected to reject the plan immediately. However, the mere presence of Arab leaders at the summit would be considered an "election gift" for Netanyahu, wrote Yediot, and could potentially help him negotiate a unity government with Blue and White after the Sept. 17 election.

Kushner's peace team as well as a spokesperson at the Israeli Embassy in Washington declined to comment on the report.

On Tuesday night, the security cabinet approved the construction of 700 Palestinian homes in in Area C in the West Bank, an area under full Israeli control. The move is being viewed as a gesture by Netanyahu to help Kushner convince Arab leaders to attend the Camp David summit. 

The PM’s office would not comment on the report. It is likely that the projects will still need approval from the Civil Administration.

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