Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he hopes to “make history” during his upcoming trip to the White House for the expected unveiling of President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan.
Addressing his Cabinet shortly before departing for Washington, Netanyahu described the current environment, characterized by close ties with Trump, as a once in a lifetime opportunity for Israel that “we must not miss.”
Trump’s plan is expected to be extremely favorable to Israel.
“We are in the midst of very dramatic political events, but the peak is still ahead,” he said.
“For three years I have discussed with President Trump and his team our security and national needs — dozens of discussions and hundreds of hours. In all of these talks, I found a receptive ear in the White House for the essential needs of the state of Israel,” he said. “I am going to Washington with a great sense of purposes, great responsibility and great chance, and I am hopeful we can make history.”
The plan’s release has been repeatedly delayed, and it seems to have little chance of success. The Palestinians have already rejected it, accusing Trump of being unfairly biased toward Israel.
In a statement Sunday, the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry called for “a clear international declaration rejecting the deal of the century” that it said would endanger regional stability.
But the plan could give Netanyahu, who is in the middle of his third re-election campaign in under a year, a lift as he tries to remain in office while fighting criminal charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes.
Netanyahu has tried to divert attention away from his legal troubles and focus his campaign on his close ties with Trump. His opponent, Benny Gantz, has focused his campaign on Netanyahu’s criminal charges and expected trial.
Gantz announced on Saturday that he would also be going to Washington for a private meeting with Trump. He turned down a joint appearance with Netanyahu at the White House, fearing the prime minister would use it to upstage him.
Instead, Gantz will quickly return to Israel to proceed with his plans in parliament to block a request by Netanyahu to receive immunity from prosecution.