Kushner and Greenblatt discuss Gaza, Trump’s peace plan with Qataris
search

Kushner and Greenblatt discuss Gaza, Trump’s peace plan with Qataris

In Qatar, US envoys and emir hold talks on humanitarian relief for Palestinians and administration’s efforts to revive negotiations

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attends the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit at Bayan palace in Kuwait City on December 5, 2017. (GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attends the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit at Bayan palace in Kuwait City on December 5, 2017. (GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace team met on Thursday with Qatar’s emir on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the White House’s plans to revive peace negotiations.

US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt discussed “increasing cooperation between the United States and Qatar” and “ways to provide humanitarian relief to Palestinians in Gaza,” with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, according to a White House readout of the conversation.

They also discussed “the Trump Administration’s efforts to facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” the statement said.

Kushner and Greenblatt’s meeting in Qatar was part of a regional tour to jumpstart direct talks between both sides.

In this Thursday, June 21, 2018 photo, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, meets with US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, second left, and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt on the latest stop in a regional tour to discuss a blueprint for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, in Cairo, Egypt. (MENA via AP)

Earlier Thursday, they met with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, during which the Egyptian leader called for a “just and comprehensive settlement” to the conflict, which he said would mean a “two-state solution on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine.”

On Wednesday, the team met with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, a day after sitting down with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman.

Kushner and Greenblatt are slated to visit Israel on Friday and Saturday.

Since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year and set in motion plans to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv (the new compound was opened last month), US-Palestinian relations have been at an all-time low.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to meet with members of the Trump administration, castigating Washington’s Jerusalem decision and saying the United States can no longer act as an honest mediator in peace talks. The PA also recalled its envoy to DC, Husam Zomlot, shortly after the opening of the new embassy.

Thus far, no meetings have been scheduled between the two envoys and Palestinians while they are in the region.

Kushner and Greenblatt’s trip also comes after weeks of deadly violence along the Gaza border, with tens of thousands of Palestinians taking part in the ongoing Hamas-backed “March of Return” protests at the border.

A woman stands holding a Palestinian flag with a cloth sack placed above her head before a barbed-wire fence and next to burning tires, during clashes following a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on June 8, 2018. (AFP/ SAID KHATIB)

Gaza faces shortages of electricity and drinkable water. Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade on the Strip that they say is designed to prevent Hamas from importing weapons and other goods that could be used to build military equipment or cross-border tunnels.

The deteriorating living conditions have been cited by security officials as a factor fueling the violent clashes on Israel’s border.

Qatar has long been accused of being a key financier of Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, including by Israeli and Saudi officials. Qatar has denied this affiliation.

Before they left for the visit, a senior administration official told The Times of Israel the two envoys would meet with regional stakeholders to discuss “the situation in Gaza and to discuss the next stages of the peace effort, as well as get some ideas from players in the region about some remaining questions the White House peace team has.”

read more:
comments