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Netanyahu ready to 'consider' long-awaited US peace plan

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Jerusalem (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he is ready to "consider" a US plan to resolve his country's long-running conflict with the Palestinians.

"We will consider the American proposal in a fair and open way," he said as he hosted US national security adviser John Bolton.

The Palestinian leadership has already rejected the plan, citing US "bias" after the White House recognised bitterly divided Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"I don't understand how the Palestinians rejected the plan even before knowing what it contained," said Netanyahu.

"That's not how you move forward."

He was talking during a visit to the Jordan valley, Israeli-occupied territory he has pledged never to give up in a peace deal.

"To those who say that to obtain peace, Israel must leave the Jordan Valley, I say: it will not bring peace -- it will bring war and terror," he said.

"Israel's presence here must continue for Israel's security and the security of all."

Bolton was being hosted by the Israeli leader for talks on "regional security", according to the White House.

His visit came amid a tense standoff between the US and Iran following a series of tanker attacks and the shooting down of an American drone.

The White House is set next week to present details for the first time of its long-awaited peace initiative being formulated by US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.

US officials say it aims to raise more than $50 billion and create more than a million jobs for the Palestinians within a decade.

But the Palestinian Authority is boycotting the so-called Peace to Prosperity workshop in Bahrain.

Palestinians have accused Trump of seeking to buy them off and deprive them of an independent state.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Sunday he was confident the Bahrain conference would fail.

"We need the economic (support), the money and the assistance, but before everything there is a political solution," he said.

"For America to turn the whole cause from a political issue into an economic one, we cannot accept this."

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