US warns no one will be ‘fully pleased’ by Israeli-Palestinian peace plan
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US warns no one will be ‘fully pleased’ by Israeli-Palestinian peace plan

In joint statement, Trump’s Mideast peace team says only path toward an agreement is for both sides to not get everything they want

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

Nikki Haley speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Palestine, Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at United Nations headquarters, with negotiators Jared Kushner, left, and Jason Greenblatt, right, behind her. (AP/Mary Altaffer)
Nikki Haley speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Palestine, Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at United Nations headquarters, with negotiators Jared Kushner, left, and Jason Greenblatt, right, behind her. (AP/Mary Altaffer)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Wednesday that neither Israelis nor Palestinian would be “fully pleased” by its long-awaited Middle East peace plan, whose contents are one of the most guarded secrets in Washington.

Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, tweeted a statement from multiple officials that said the only way to achieve a final-status accord was for both parties to accept painful compromises.

“No one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that’s the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved,” the officials said. “Peace can only succeed if it is based on realities.”

The quote was attributed to US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and Greenblatt.

Trump officials have said they are finishing the plan and working on rolling it out, but have not offered any timeline.

Even before the release of the plan, the Palestinian Authority, which is boycotting the administration, has rejected the attempt to jump-start talks.

On Wednesday night, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas assailed the Trump administration for its proposals to alleviate the Gaza Strip’s humanitarian crisis. In a speech in Ramallah, Abbas said of Trump’s team: “I swear to God, they are liars.”

He also accused them of seeking to promote Gaza aid and relief projects to serve their own interests — and not out of a genuine desire to improve the lives of Palestinians.

The Palestinian leader’s frustration with the White House dates back to last December, when Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and set in motion plans to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. The new compound was eventually opened in May.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas delivering a speech on August 15, 2018. (WAFA)

Since Trump’s announcement, PA officials have refused to meet with members of Trump’s cabinet, declaring them as having relinquished their capacity to act as an honest mediator in negotiations.

Nevertheless, the Trump team tasked with trying to solidify a peace deal has been pushing ahead with developing a plan for what Trump has called the “ultimate deal.”

US-Palestinian relations, though, have continually soured. In January, the White House announced it would withhold $65 million in assistance to the UN relief agency for Palestinians, a punitive measure responding to Abbas’s unwillingness to work with the administration following the Jerusalem decision.

“We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect,” Trump tweeted on January 3.

Two weeks ago, however, Washington released millions of dollars of frozen aid money to the Palestinian Authority. White House officials said those funds were allocated only for Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, and that all other aid was still under review.

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