JERUSALEM: US President Donald Trump has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his election rival Benny Gantz to Washington next week to discuss the White House Middle East peace plan, Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday.
“President Trump asked me to extend an invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu to come to the White House next week to discuss regional issues as well as the prospect of peace here in the holy land,” Pence said after meeting Netanyahu at the US embassy in Jerusalem.
There was no mention of Palestinians, and Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: “We warn Israel and the US administration not to cross any red lines.”
Netanyahu said he had accepted the US invitation. His office said he would fly to the United States on Sunday.
The veteran right-wing Israeli leader faces political and legal troubles at home. He is heading for his third election in less than a year and was indicted on criminal charges in November. He denies any wrongdoing.
Israeli political analysts viewed Trump’s invitation as a boost to his right-wing ally. Netanyahu’s principal domestic political rival Gantz, a centrist former general, this week lifted his objection to having the peace plan be published before Israel’s March election. He had previously objected to it as interference in the vote.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2020