US envoy denies reports peace plan includes giving Palestinians part of Sinai
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Jason Greenblatt: 'Please don’t believe everything you read'

US envoy denies reports peace plan includes giving Palestinians part of Sinai

Social media posts show video of purported plan to create Palestinian state in Gaza and parts of the Egyptian-ruled peninsula; actual plan expected to be launched in June

Screencapture from a video purporting to show a plan to to give the Palestinian part of the Sinai for a future state. US envoy Jason Greenblatt denies this is part of the Trump peace plan, Aprli 19, 2019. (Screencapture/Twitter)
Screencapture from a video purporting to show a plan to to give the Palestinian part of the Sinai for a future state. US envoy Jason Greenblatt denies this is part of the Trump peace plan, Aprli 19, 2019. (Screencapture/Twitter)

WASHINGTON — US Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt on Friday denied rumors that the soon to be released Trump peace plan calls for the Palestinians to be given part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula for an expanded Gaza.

“Hearing reports our plan includes the concept that we will give a portion of Sinai (which is Egypt’s) to Gaza. False!” tweeted Greenblatt.

With the Trump team keeping the details of the plan close to their chests (and with one report indicating that even US President Donald Trump has not seen the entire plan), rumors of its content have repeatedly swirled, particularly on social media.

“Please don’t believe everything you read. Surprising & sad to see how people who don’t know what’s in the plan make up & spread fake stories,” Greenblatt said.

Reports had circulated in recent days that under the deal, Egypt would give up a chunk of the northern Sinai that lies next to the Gaza Strip for the creation of something called the “New State.”

A video, purportedly from the Trump team, detailing the plan is apparently from an independent Israeli think tank called New State Solution.

Israel conquered the Sinai from Egypt in the 1967 Six Day war but returned it as part of the peace deal with Cairo signed in 1979. The Egyptians are currently battling an Islamic State-linked insurgency in the region. Egypt has also said in the past that it would not give up parts of the peninsula.

The US administration’s peace plan will not be unveiled until June at the earliest,  Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said Wednesday.

Kushner told some 100 foreign diplomats the plan will be rolled out after the new Israeli government is sworn in and following the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends June 5.

He urged them to keep an “open mind,” according to a source cited by the Reuters news service.

“He said the plan will require concessions from both sides but won’t jeopardize the security of Israel,” Reuters quoted the source as saying.

Jason Greenblatt, left, meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Jerusalem, March 13, 2017. (Government Press Office)

Greenblatt confirmed the content of the Reuters report.

Little is known about the long-awaited plan, though recent reports in the Washington Post and Guardian suggested it would not include full Palestinian statehood.

That is a likely deal-breaker for Palestinians, who were already not cooperating with Trump’s Middle East team following the US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and moving of the US embassy there in May 2018.

New Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Tuesday the plan will be “born dead.”

“There are no partners in Palestine for Trump. There are no Arab partners for Trump and there are no European partners for Trump,” Shtayyeh said during a wide-ranging, hour-long interview with The Associated Press.

Greenblatt has been sparing with Shtayyeh on Twitter over the deal in recent days.

At a pre-Passover White House event for conservative Jewish groups on Tuesday night, Israel’s ambassador to the US said he was confident the plan, whose details are not yet known, will “take Israel’s vital concerns into account.”

“I know a lot of people are concerned that the peace plan is going to be coming out soon,” Ron Dermer said, according to the Jewish Insider website.

“But I have to say, as Israel’s ambassador, I am confident that this administration — given its support for Israel — will take Israel’s vital concerns into account in any plan they will put forward.”

Last Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, said the peace plan that the White House is expected to roll out will “represent a significant change from the model that’s been used.”

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