White House: Israel TV story on peace plan not accurate, speculation not helpful
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'Peddling false, distorted, biased stories is irresponsible'

White House: Israel TV story on peace plan not accurate, speculation not helpful

Channel 13 claims Trump proposal calls for Palestinian state in 85-90% of West Bank, with most Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem as its capital

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

US President Donald Trump's Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt addresses the American Jewish Committee's Women’s Leadership Board Spring Luncheon in New York on April 24, 2018. (Courtesy / Ellen Dubin Photography)
US President Donald Trump's Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt addresses the American Jewish Committee's Women’s Leadership Board Spring Luncheon in New York on April 24, 2018. (Courtesy / Ellen Dubin Photography)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Wednesday dismissed as “inaccurate” an Israeli TV report that said its forthcoming peace plan would offer Palestinians a state in most of the West Bank, with parts of East Jerusalem as its capital.

Channel 13 reported hours earlier that a “senior American” official had said Trump’s peace proposal would provide for Jerusalem to be divided, with Israel maintaining sovereignty in west Jerusalem, parts of east Jerusalem and the “holy basin,” including the Old City and its immediate environs. However, it added that the “holy basin” area would be “jointly run” with the Palestinians, Jordan and possibly other countries.

“While I respect , his report on Israel’s Ch. 13 is not accurate,” tweeted Jason Greenblatt, the White House special envoy for Mideast peace, referring to the reporter who broke the story. “Speculation about the content of the plan is not helpful. Very few people on the planet know what is in it.”

Immediately after the TV report aired, right-wing politicians in Israel protested any US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian deal that would provide the Palestinians with a state. The report said the proposal would offer a Palestinian state in 85-90 percent of the West Bank, with major settlement blocs to be annexed by Israel, along various so-called land swaps.

The New Right party, founded last month in the wake of Israel’s move to early elections in April, said it would not be part of a government that would agree to a two-state solution with Palestinians.

Greenblatt predicted that there would be more ostensible leaks relating to the US proposal, and that they should not be given credibility.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, meets US President Donald Trump In the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (Fadi Arouri, Xinhua Pool via AP)

“Over the coming period, unnamed sources will peddle narratives to the media & others based on motivations that are far from pure,” he said. “Peddling false, distorted or biased stories to the media is irresponsible & harmful to the process. Israelis & Palestinians deserve better.”

Greenblatt argued that the only reliable sources on the peace plan were US President Donald Trump, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and himself.

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also panned the proposal. Abbas has been boycotting the Trump administration since it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.

Any peace plan that does not include the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along 1967 borders, with “all” of East Jerusalem as its capital, will fail, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, said in comments published by the official PA news site Wafa.

The Trump administration has refused to commit to a timetable for the rollout of its highly anticipated plan, and has thus far divulged virtually no information about its details.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman recently said it would not be revealed for several months, with it being delayed at least until after the Israeli elections on April 9.

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