update deskMiddle East

Report: Former Israeli defense minister reveals part of ‘deal of the century’

Avigdor Lieberman divulged details on U.S. “deal of century” before resigning, Al-Hayat reports • Plan calls for Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and expanded powers for Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria • Lieberman: “The report is false.”

Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. Credit: Edward Kaprov via Wikimedia Commons.
Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. Credit: Edward Kaprov via Wikimedia Commons.

Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman shared with Palestinian officials key details of emerging U.S. peace plan and its vision for a two-state solution, the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported on Wednesday.

Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu) served as defense minister for more than two years until he resigned in November. The right-wing lawmaker left Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government after another flare-up in the Gaza Strip, saying Netanyahu was being too soft on the Palestinians and undermining Israel’s deterrence.

According to the Al-Hayat report, some two weeks before his departure, Lieberman told senior Palestinian officials that under the plan, a Palestinian state would be established in Gaza. The plan would also supposedly bolster the Palestinian Authority’s rule in Judea and Samaria by expanding its powers to certain areas where Israel currently has complete or partial control.

As a result, Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria would become citizens of the new state in Gaza.

Lieberman further told the Palestinian officials that the plan would not include the dismantling of Israeli settlements. Likewise, it will let Israel maintain a military presence at the border crossings and keep control over most of eastern Jerusalem.

The economic component of the plan, according to Lieberman, will see the international community provide aid to the Palestinians to allow for the construction of major infrastructure in the new state in Gaza, including an airport and a seaport.

Lieberman’s spokesperson denied the Al-Hayat report, telling the Israel Broadcasting Corporation that the former minister has not seen the U.S. plan. “This is just false,” the spokesperson said.

This is not the first time alleged details of the so-called “deal of the century” are supposedly divulged.

The Trump administration has repeatedly dismissed various reports on the plan, calling them misleading and false. The administration has also made it clear that the plan has not been shown to any party and that it will be unveiled only when the time is right.

Netanyahu said this week that it would only be presented after the Israeli elections in April.

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