The Trump administration will ask Israel to withdraw from four Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, which will likely become the capital of a future Palestinian state, US officials told Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman during his visit to Washington last week.
The transfer of control over the neighborhoods – Jebl Mukabar, Isawiya, Shuafat and Abu Dis – was presented to Liberman as just one piece of the larger peace plan the administration has been working on over the last year. Israel, the officials indicated, would be expected to accept the plan once it is presented despite the potentially painful concessions.
News of the demand come less than two weeks before the US Embassy officially moves to Jerusalem on May 14. The full plan is expected to be unveiled shortly after the embassy moves.
During his visit to Washington, Liberman met with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and the president’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt.
“We do not comment on the content of the minister’s meetings,” Liberman’s office said in response to the report.
Kushner and Greenblatt have been working on a peace plan together with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for the last year, and few details have leaked out.
Alongside the concessions expected of Israel, the administration has promised its full support in the event of a widespread conflict with Iran or Syria. The administration has told Israel it would supply the IDF with significant support, including advanced weaponry, if a war broke out with Iran, even one instigated by Israeli action against Iran’s presence in Syria.
Last month, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinians will not accept any US plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We honestly will not wait for anything from them, and we will not accept anything from them,” Abbas said at a conference in Ramallah last month.