British FM said to seek meeting with Kushner to voice ‘red lines’ on peace plan

Israeli TV report says Boris Johnson organizing sit down with counterparts from European and Arab countries to agree conditions for backing expected US proposal

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London after attending the weekly cabinet meeting on June 12, 2018. (AFP Photo/Daniel Leal-Olivas)
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London after attending the weekly cabinet meeting on June 12, 2018. (AFP Photo/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is organizing a meeting of European and Arab foreign ministers with Jared Kushner in order to coordinate their “red lines” for the White House’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, Channel 10 reported Friday.

The meeting, which will include the foreign ministers from France, Germany, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, was proposed by Johnson when he met in Washington last month with Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s special adviser and son-in-law, the report said.

While Kushner responded positively to the proposal, saying he was open to outside input, he stressed that it is Trump who will ultimately decide on what is included in the US plan, according to the network.

The meeting, which has yet to be finalized but is likely to take place in July, is meant to lay out the principles European and Arab countries expect to be included in the peace plan in order for them to support it, Channel 10 reported.

Jared Kushner takes a phone call before a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, February 20, 2018 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

In an apparent bid to fend off criticism the peace plan will reflect Israeli positions, the network on Wednesday quoted US officials as saying the proposal won’t unfairly favor Israel over the Palestinians.

“Our peace plan won’t be the Bibi plan. It will be fair, balanced, realistic and fitting,” Channel 10 quoted a US official as saying, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The sources told the network there will be parts of the plan — which has yet to be unveiled — that both Israel and the Palestinians won’t like.

Also Wednesday, the White House confirmed the US peace team will travel to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia next week to promote the plan.

Kushner and US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt will hold talks with regional leaders on when to present a Trump administration proposal, as well as to seek ideas on resolving the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, according to a Channel 10 report on Tuesday.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (second left) and US President Donald Trump’s special envoys Jason Greenblatt (left) and Jared Kushner (center) meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the PMO in Jerusalem, June 21, 2017. (Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)

The tour comes amid a nadir in relations between the United States and the Palestinians, with the Palestinian Authority refusing to speak to Washington over the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the subsequent relocation of the US embassy to the city last month.

Adding to the tensions, Greenblatt is mired in a spat with top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who earlier this week accused the US envoy of parroting right-wing Israeli views.

No meetings with Palestinian officials have been scheduled so far during the tour. But a US official, who was not named in the Channel 10 TV report, said that if the Palestinians show willingness to meet the pair of US envoys, the American team would be open to a meeting.

Kushner and Greenblatt are also looking for ideas on solving some of the remaining issues in the peace plan, the official said.

Trump wants to lock down the right timing to present the plan and is interested in feedback from neighboring countries, the official said.

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