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Trump says next stage of Mideast peace plan to emerge after Israeli elections

Much-anticipated political elements of 'deal of the century' delayed by uncertainty surrounding Israel's re-run polls
A giant Likud Party election banner shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with US President Donald Trump (AFP)

The United States’ much-feted, much-maligned Middle East peace plan won’t be rolled out until after Israel’s 17 September elections, President Donald Trump has said.

“We will probably wait for the release of the Middle East peace plan until after the Israeli elections,” the president told reporters on Sunday. “But we may put out pieces of it.”

Widely known as “the deal of the century”, the US scheme headed by Trump’s son-in-law saw its economic proponent launched in a June “workshop” in Bahrain.

Since then, the launch of the scheme’s political elements has been anticipated, with the next phase apparently delayed by a new round of Israeli parliamentary polls set for next month.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close Trump ally, failed to form a government following April’s elections, forcing them to be re-run and throwing more doubt over the US “deal”.

On Sunday, Trump decried the “decades of hate” between the two sides, saying “it is tough to make a deal when there is that much hate”.

The Trump administration had hoped to bring the Palestinians and Israelis together with the promise of economic incentives for the Palestinians.

However, moves such as recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital undermined Washington’s status as broker and the Manama conference was boycotted by Palestinian political and business leadership.

Among other Palestinian grievances is Trump’s decision to cut millions in aid to the Palestinian Authority and aid agencies working in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, as well as with refugees elsewhere.

'We will probably wait for the release of the Middle East peace plan until after the Israeli elections'

- Donald Trump

Trump argued on Sunday that his withholding of support would bolster US-Palestinian ties eventually and convince them to cooperate with the peace plan. He also appeared to hint that US monetary support could be restored.

“I also cut it [funding] back on the Palestinians because they speak very badly about our country,” Trump said.

“Now we are paying nothing, but I think we are going to get further because I could see opening that up again,” Trump added.

“I think they are going to make a deal and I think one of the reasons they are going to want to make a deal is because of that.”

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