Kushner, Greenblatt to visit Mideast to seek backing for peace plan
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Kushner, Greenblatt to visit Mideast to seek backing for peace plan

Envoys heading to Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar to discuss economic aspects of proposal, possibly ask them to bankroll parts of it

White House adviser Jared Kushner attends a meeting with President Donald Trump and Hispanic pastors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
White House adviser Jared Kushner attends a meeting with President Donald Trump and Hispanic pastors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON — White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and other administration officials are headed to the Middle East later this month to brief diplomats in at least five countries on the economic section of a US proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Kushner, who is US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, will be joined by US Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, US envoy on Iran Brian Hook and other administration officials who have worked on the economic part of the plan.

Stops are confirmed in Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Other stops could be added to the trip, according to a White House official.

The plan includes an economic development proposal for Palestinians that foresees major infrastructure and industrial work, particularly in Gaza. For the plan to succeed or even pass the starting gate, it will need at least initial buy-in from both Israel and the Palestinians as well as from the Gulf Arab states, which officials say will be asked to substantially bankroll the economic portion.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (R) speaks with Jason Greenblatt, the US president’s assistant and special representative for international negotiations, during the Arab Summit in the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh on March 29, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Also, Kushner is to participate next Thursday in Warsaw in a discussion to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a senior White House official.

During the discussion with Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, he is expected to give an update on the peace effort and what the administration hopes to accomplish in coming weeks and months.

In Warsaw, Kushner will be attending a gathering that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said will focus on Middle East stability and efforts to keep Iran from being a destabilizing influence in the region.

The officials were not authorized to publicly disclose details of the trip and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Trump has long promised to try and reach the so-called “deal of the century” to end the long-simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but his efforts have derailed since his decision to transfer the US embassy to Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority has castigated the move, declared the US no longer an honest broker in negotiations, and rejected any plan the White House may come out with, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas calling it the “slap of the century.”

The Palestinians have refused to meet with the US to discuss peace overtures since December 2017, when Trump announced the move and declared he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The US has ended millions in aid to the UN’s refugee agency for the Palestinians, and has cut funding for the PA over Abbas’s refusal to enter negotiations and Ramallah’s payments to terror convicts and their families.

The launch of the plan has also reportedly been delayed by Israel’s elections, which will be held on April 9.

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