US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to arrive in Israel on Wednesday night with a US peace delegation, after quietly meeting with leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
According to Politico, the US delegation — which also consists of Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell — headed to the Middle East on Sunday.
They were to hold meetings in Israel on Thursday, according to the report. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Russia on Wednesday for a meeting with Vladimir Putin.
The White House had announced the trip by the three top aides to kickstart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but gave no dates.
Trump has asked his delegation to focus the talks on this trip around several broad themes, including finding “a path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, combating extremism [and dealing with] the situation in Gaza, including how to ease the humanitarian crisis there,” according to a senior White House official.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that the entire Trump administration is in “chaos,” and indicated that the White House disarray was affecting peace efforts.
“I don’t even know how they are dealing with us, because his entire administration is in chaos,” Abbas told a delegation of dovish Israeli lawmakers visiting Ramallah.
Abbas told parliamentarians from the Meretz party that he had met with US officials more than 20 times since Trump’s election in November 2016, yet still had little idea what their plans for peace negotiations were.
“Each time they reiterate their commitment to a two-state solution and the stop to settlement building,” he said, according to Hebrew media reports. “I urge them to tell Netanyahu that, but they refrain.”
While Ramallah has officially welcomed US peace efforts, officials have begun to grumble about what they see as a lack of commitment to a two-state solution or finding a way forward, as well as a bias toward Israel’s positions.
Netanyahu has welcomed the upcoming visit by the three top US officials.
A White House official told The Times of Israel earlier this month that Trump believes an “opportunity” has opened up to advance his peace initiative.
“He believes that the restoration of calm and the stabilized situation in Jerusalem after the recent crisis on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif has created an opportunity to continue discussions and the pursuit of peace that began early in his administration,” the official said.
Recently off-the-record remarks by Kushner — made to a casual gathering of congressional interns — were leaked to the media in which he said there may not be a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.