Kushner, Greenblatt due in Israel for talks on peace push, Gaza
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Kushner, Greenblatt due in Israel for talks on peace push, Gaza

US envoys wrapping up Middle East tour after whirlwind visits to Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia

L-R: Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, US President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman meet in Tel Aviv on August 24, 2017.  (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
L-R: Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, US President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman meet in Tel Aviv on August 24, 2017. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and his special envoy Jason Greenblatt were due in Israel on Friday, the final leg of a Middle East tour aimed at promoting the US administration’s as-yet unveiled Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and securing humanitarian relief for Gaza.

Kushner and Greenblatt were scheduled to be in the Jewish state through Saturday for talks with Israeli leaders.

The two US envoys over the past several days have visited Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar in a whirlwind tour.

The US peace team’s trip to Amman on Tuesday came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare visit to Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II, after months of strained ties.

Readouts from the White House following the series of meetings with Arab leaders have signaled the American officials were focusing talks on their impending peace push and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

The White House earlier this month confirmed the envoys would be in Israel on June 22-23.

US officials have said their peace plan is near completion and could be released this summer. But it faces resistance from the Palestinians, who have cut off ties since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December, and then moved the US embassy there in May.

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)

No talks with the Palestinians are scheduled.

The Trump administration is seeking to convince moderate Arab allies to put pressure on the Palestinians to negotiate on the basis of the US peace proposal.

On Thursday, Kushner and Greenblatt met with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. 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.”

The pair also sat down with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani on Thursday.

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

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.

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.”

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.

Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.

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