Palestinians See Golan Move as Quiet Rollout of U.S. Peace Plan

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan shows it’s rolling out its Middle East peace plan without a formal announcement, and a similar ruling will follow over parts of the West Bank wanted by Palestinians for a future state, the Palestinian foreign minister said.

Riad Malki said he hadn’t seen U.S. President Donald Trump’s much-trumpeted peace plan and was unaware of any Arab country having received a copy.

“We think there’s no need to announce the ‘deal of the century’ if it’s being implemented in steps and we are now in the last steps of its implementation,” he told reporters in the Tunisian capital on the sidelines of a meeting of Arab foreign ministers.

“The most recent decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights was preceded by the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and will be followed by recognition of Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank.”

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also said he hadn’t seen Trump’s peace plan.

Palestinian officials -- and many U.S. allies -- were outraged when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. The Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas claims east Jerusalem as the capital of a hoped-for state. It cut off contacts with the U.S. in 2017 when its diplomatic mission in Washington D.C. was closed down.

Political turmoil in Israel ahead of next month’s elections and recent tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, which would be expected to play a key role in financially supporting any deal, may have further complicated the peace proposal being developed by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

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