Trump's Mideast peace plan will be "historic," says Netanyahu

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said he expected US President Donald Trump's peace plan for the Middle East to be "historic" ahead of a trip to Washington.

"An opportunity such as this comes once in history and cannot be missed... I am full of hope that we are on the verge of a historic moment in the annals of our state," Netanyahu, who has been invited to meet Trump at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the plan, said in a statement.

Trump on Thursday said he will release his long-delayed plan before meeting Netanyahu in Washington.

"It's a great plan. It's a plan that really would work," Trump said.

Netanyahu's political rival Benny Gantz has also received an invitation to attend the White House talks.

Gantz told a news conference in Tel Aviv on Saturday that the "peace plan devised by President Trump will go down in history as a meaningful landmark".

He expected the initiative to allow "different players in the Middle East to finally move ahead towards an historic regional agreement".

The Palestinian leadership was not invited and has already rejected Trump's plan amid tense relations with the US president over his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital.

"This step only reaffirms our absolute rejection of what the US administration has done so far, particularly the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital," Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas' spokesman said in a statement earlier this week.

The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and believe that Trump's plan buries the two-state solution that has been for decades the cornerstone of international Middle East diplomacy.

World powers have long agreed that Jerusalem's fate should be settled through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

- Israel's 'greatest friend' -
Israel has occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.
More than 600,000 Israelis now live there in settlements considered illegal under international law. Read More

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