The Abu Dis neighborhood bordering east Jerusalem will be the capital of a Palestinian state in US President Donald Trump’s planned peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said Monday.
“Over the weekend, different sources began saying that in the American paper that will be presented next month, Abu Dis will be mentioned as the capital of Palestine,” Lapid said at a Yesh Atid faction meeting.
Lapid argued that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must know about this plan and agreed to it.
“This brings up two questions,” Lapid said. “One, is the two-state solution back on the table with the prime minister’s agreement? Two, is Abu Dis acceptable to Netanyahu as the future Palestinian capital?
“I know that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t give interviews, but there’s a limit to his vagueness. If it’s true, the Israeli public needs to know,” Lapid said.
Word has been circulating Washington since January that Trump’s Mideast peace team— led by his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt — was eyeing Abu Dis for a future Palestinian capital. At the time, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas referenced the rumor as yet another reason why he had dismissed the US administration as biased and aloof.
Abbas rejected PA communication with the White House after Trump announced in December that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and move the US embassy in Israel there.
When discussion of Abu Dis first surfaced, US officials said the talk was baseless. And a National Security Council official similarly brushed off Lapid’s comments on Monday.
“Anyone who claims to know the terms of the Trump administration’s peace proposal is mistaken,” the official told The Jerusalem Post. “We will not provide details or comment further on specific terms until we make the proposal public.”
In the Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu did not directly comment on the matter, but said: “Our successes are still to come. Our policies are not based on weakness. They are not based on concessions that will endanger us.”
Netanyahu added that the Likud believes in the Jewish people’ right to its land, while being willing to make peace with its neighbors that truly want it.