A US administration delegation headed by US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner will travel this week to Jordan and then to Jerusalem, a White House official confirmed Tuesday, amid a political deadlock in Israel that could potentially set back US plans next month to unveil its Middle East peace plan and hold an economic workshop for Palestinians in Bahrain.
The White House official said Kushner, along with Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, and Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, will travel to Rabat, Amman, and Jerusalem.
The group landed Tuesday morning in Morocco, according to Israeli media reports. They are expected to meet King Mohammed VI to discuss next month’s US-hosted economic workshop in Manama and the potential participation of senior Moroccan officials, Channel 13 reported.
The White House has announced that it will roll out the first phase of its peace proposal at a summit focusing on economic aspects that Jason Greenblatt said has the “potential to unlock a prosperous future for the Palestinians.”
But the Palestinian Authority has rejected the US invitation over its omission of the core political issues from the conference agenda, and has vowed to boycott the June 25-26 confab being co-hosted by the tiny Gulf Arab state.
Kushner and Greenblatt will travel to Amman, Jordan, on Wednesday and meet King Abdullah in an attempt to persuade him to express support for the workshop, the report said.
They are then expected to arrive in Israel on Thursday and meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the day after a deadline expires for Netanyahu to announce his new coalition — a prospect that is currently in doubt amid intense last-ditch efforts to avert snap polls and reconcile conflicting demands by the premier’s allies.
Netanyahu has yet to ink a deal with any of his prospective partners, and progress has stalled amid an impasse between the secular Yisrael Beytenu party and ultra-Orthodox parties on the question of a bill regulating the military draft among the ultra-Orthodox.
Netanyahu has until Wednesday night to secure a coalition, and has said that barring a deal, he will trigger new Knesset elections, months after the April 9 vote.
The Trump administration purposefully set its peace plan launch for after coalition negotiations and when Israel has a functioning government, and it isn’t clear if the date will change if Israelis goes to the polls again.
According to the official, Kushner will travel from Jerusalem to Montreux in Switzerland, before heading to London to join Trump’s state visit.
In remarks to the UN Security Council last week, Greenblatt said “it would be a mistake for the Palestinians not to join us” in the Bahrain workshop.
“They have nothing to lose and much to gain if they do join us. But it is, of course, their choice,” said Greenblatt, who is drafting the proposal with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas cut ties with the Trump administration in 2017 after it recognized capital of Israel as Jerusalem, where Palestinians envision the capital of their future state. On Monday Abbas said Trump’s peace plan and economic workshop will “go to hell.”
AFP contributed to this report.