Israeli PM’s main rival accepts invitation to WH

Jerusalem, Jan 26 (IANS) Benny Gantz, the main political rival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has accepted an invitation to visit the White House and announced that he will meet US President Donald Trump in Washington to discuss a Middle East peace plan.

Addressing the media on Saturday, Gantz said he will meet Trump on Monday, a day before the US President is scheduled to meet Netanyahu to discuss the same plan, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The plan will be a major cornerstone that defines the way the different sides can make their way towards a historic, regional agreement,” Gantz said.

Initially the US invitation was for both Gantz and Netanyahu to meet Trump together.

But according to sources, Gantz was reluctant to be seen at the White House alongside Netanyahu.

The timing of the publication of the US peace plan, or the “Deal of the Century” as dubbed by Trump, is controversial.

Israel is slated to hold general elections in March and an interim government does not have the mandate to make far-reaching decisions on matters such as the country’s future borders.

The Palestinians have not been part of the talks on the plan.

Several Israeli commentators and politicians see the US’ decision to unveil the plan in the coming days as a welcome respite for Netanyahu.

The Prime Minister has been indicted on corruption charges and his request for immunity from trial is supposed to be discussed at the Israeli Parliament the same time when he is in Washington.

The plan is believed to be very favourable to the right-wing Israeli government.

“This is a historic opportunity that must not be missed,” Netanyahu tweeted on Saturday night.

–IANS
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