Newsletter : 19fx0103.txt
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Trump Asks Netanyahu to Make his Peace Plan the Focal Election Campaign Issue
President Donald Trump is asking Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to build his
campaign around the "Deal of the Century" for an Israeli-Palestinian peace, DEBKAfile
reported exclusively. This insistent request keeps on coming up in contacts with
Washington, including Netanyahu's conversation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in
Brazil on New Year's Day. The peace plan's authors, the president's advisers Jared Kushner
and Jason Greenblatt, have been placed on standby for finally going public on their
product in the near future.
In recent consultations at the White House, in which US Ambassador to Israel David
Friedman also participated, the president was advised that publication of the peace plan
would not be good for the prime minister and his Likud's chances and it would be better to
wait until after the April 9 election. Trump, however, stood by his demand and put forward
the following arguments for an early date of publication. Making it a central feature of
Netanyahu's campaign would reuse the general election as a kind of referendum for its
As a focal of the prime minister's bid for re-election, the plan would fit in well with
his plans for visits in the critical months of February and March of a string of world
leaders, including Arab heads of government, to showcase his successes as minister of
foreign affairs and defense. Trump believes that knowing the peace plan for the
Palestinians was imminent would provide Arab leaders, especially in the Gulf, with an
added incentive to make state visits to Israel or invite Netanyahu to visit their
Some of Trump's advisers suggested as a compromise that just sections of the peace plan
be released at this stage, not the entire opus. They hoped that Trump would be deterred
from losing patience and turning to twitter to unveil his plan, with the same abruptness
as the US troop pullback from Syria last month. He could do this in a series of
On Tuesday, January 1, Israel's party strategists were engrossed in calculating how the
Trump peace plan landing in the middle of the election campaign would affect their
prospects. This scenario appeared more pressing even than Labor leader Avi Gabbay's sudden
dumping of Tzipi Livni which was making waves. They also treated as a flash in the pan the
media reports, soon to be denied, claiming that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit had
conferred with a flock of ex-prosecutors and legal whizzes on how to handle the cases
Arabic Daily: Liberman Revealed Details of Trump Plan to Palestinians
By World Israel News
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman revealed details of the Trump administration's
carefully guarded peace plan to the Palestinians just ahead of his resignation in
mid-November, Palestinian officials say, according to the London-based Al Hayat newspaper
on Wednesday. The report said the Trump plan calls for a Palestinian state in the Gaza
Strip, and sovereignty for the population in small areas of the West Bank, as well as
generous economic incentives.
Liberman met a Palestinian delegation two weeks before he resigned and said the U.S.
plan, which President Donald Trump has dubbed the `deal of the century,' would grant
sovereignty to the Palestinian population, but not the land, though the report did not go
into further detail about how that would work in practice.
The Al-Hayat report said that sovereignty would be limited to Area A, roughly 13% of
Judea and Samaria, parts of Area B (about 18% of Judea and Samaria) and a small part of
Area C, which is about 60% of Judea and Samaria, Palestinian officials told the paper.
Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria would remain, and Israel would maintain control of
security, water and external borders. Israel would also retain control of the Jordan
Valley. Al-Hayat also reported that according to the Palestinian officials Israel would
keep control of what it called "occupied East Jerusalem." The plan also provides for large
influxes of money from donor nations to build up the Palestinian state's infrastructure in
the Gaza Strip, including a port, airport etc.
The London-based Arabic daily also reported that President Mahmoud Abbas blasted the
plan, saying the Palestinians would fight it. "This is a conspiracy, a conspiracy that
they are going to be waging from afar," Abbas said in an improvised speech on Monday when
the rumored details of the plan came to light. "They say wait for the deal, what are we
waiting for? Everything is on the table, nothing is left hidden, and what they offer is
rejected, rejected, rejected, and we will fight to prevent it, because we will not sell
our sanctity," Abbas said, adding that U.S. sanctions against the Palestinians to pressure
them to accept the deal wouldn't work," according to Al-Hayat.
Trump: Iran Can Do What it wants in Syria
US President Donald Trump stated on Wednesday that Iran "can do what they want" in
Syria. He made the remarks during a press briefing at the White House in which he
discussed the controversial withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
Trump justified the withdrawal by stating "We're talking about sand and death," in
Syria. "We're not talking about vast wealth. He also blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama,
for having lost Syria "long ago."
During the news conference, he stated that Iran was facing internal pressure to reform
and that the regime was dealing with larger protests and riots from its own oppressed
people "than ever before." He further stated that as a result of his policies, Iran was
pulling much of its own forces out of places like Yemen and Syria, though he added "they
can do whatever they want there, frankly."
Israeli officials worry that the US withdrawal could leave Iran unchecked in its
ambitions to achieve a land bridge to the Mediterranean and make it easier for Iran to
smuggle weapons to the Hizbullah terrorist organization.
An additional concern is the fate of the US' Kurdish allies in northeastern Syria, who
were instrumental in the long battle against ISIS. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
has stated that his country is preparing a military operation in Syria targeting Kurdish
forces in Syria. Trump stated during the media conference that the US would continue to
protect its Kurdish allies even after the withdrawal.
Update on Family that Attempted to Marry Off 13-Year-Old
A Jerusalem family made the news last month, after their attempts to marry off their
13-year-old daughter were foiled by police, with the help of concerned members of the
community. The ceremony, kept secret, was held in the Mea Shearim neighborhood. Police
were familiar with the 13-year-old bride, as she had been abducted by her mother and
reported missing two months prior. Though the most recent wedding attempt was stopped, the
family's 16-year-old son is currently married.
As is to be expected, the ordeal was the culmination of a lengthy family history of
abuse and poor mental health. Recently, the children's mother reportedly joined the "shawl
cult," an extremist sub-group which requires women to wear full-body `burqa'-style
coverings. The group has been condemned by the vast majority of mainstream haredi
authorities. Both parents have now surrendered custody of the children, the youngest of
whom is just 6 years old.
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