July 26, 2018 / 12:09 AM / 2 months ago

Trump team preparing economic plan as part of Mideast peace proposal - official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A long-awaited Middle East peace plan from the Trump administration will include what the White House is calling a robust economic plan to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an official has said.

FILE PHOTO: A Palestinian girl stands amongst smoke during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank June 29, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoys are also working on the most detailed set of proposals to date for the overall plan, the White House official said in a briefing with reporters on Monday.

The plan thus far has no release date. Trump had hoped to reveal it early this year but his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the embassy there, reversing decades of U.S. policy, inflamed tensions in the region.

The Palestinians have said that they have lost faith in the Trump administration to act as a fair mediator and have boycotted the process since last December’s Jerusalem announcement.

The White House has offered few details on a peace plan that has drawn widespread scepticism even before its unveiling.

Trump’s proposals are the product of shuttle diplomacy to regional capitals by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and Jason Greenblatt, a lawyer who is playing a role in the negotiations.

The two envoys have asked leaders in the region to outline for each issue an outcome that they could live with and that the other side could accept, the official said.

Past attempts by American presidents at negotiating peace between Israel and Palestine have fizzled based on differences over the status of Jerusalem and borders.

The Trump team has studied past efforts as a guidepost to the future, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said the Trump plan would be the most detailed package of solutions ever offered and that some finishing touches were being put on the main proposals and economic plans.

A rollout strategy was being developed, the official said.

Trump had asked his team how the embassy announcement would affect peace negotiations. He was told it would cause some short-term disruption, but that long-term the prospects for peace would be improved, the official said.

Despite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to engage on the subject, Trump’s advisers expect the Palestinian leadership to read it and provide some realistic feedback and offer some proposals on how to improve it, the official said.

Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Toni Reinhold

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