WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump’s special adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner will travel to Israel Wednesday to attend the World Holocaust Forum and likely meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz.
Kushner’s trip, first reported by Axios, comes as Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is about to ramp up, with the Democratic House managers and White House lawyers making oral arguments before senators throughout the week.
It also comes as Israel heads into its third election in less than a year.
Axios reported that Trump’s peace team is currently weighing whether it will release its long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan before the March elections, according to both US and Israeli sources who said Washington was in the midst of “intense deliberations.”
Over the course of the last two elections in 2019, Trump officials repeatedly said they would wait until Israel’s democratic process resolved itself before unveiling the proposal. With a third election on the way, the White House could end up shelving the plan indefinitely, not wanting to release it in the middle of America’s 2020 presidential election cycle.
Officials told Axios there were several factors that would influence the decision, including developments in the president’s impeachment and conversations Kushner has with Middle Eastern and other world leaders during the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, and then with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem.
Publishing the move now could be a boost to Netanyahu, especially if it is favorable to Israel, possibly easing some of the pressure on the prime minister stemming from the attorney general’s announcement that he will indict him on corruption charges.
Gantz has said the United States should wait until after the election.
Releasing the plan before Israeli voters head to the polls on March 2, he said, would amount to a “a harsh interference in the electoral process in Israel.”
Kushner’s visit will be the second visit by a Trump official to Israel this month. On January 7, Avi Berkowitz, the administration’s new envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, came to Israel for a series of meetings with senior officials.
Berkowitz recently replaced Trump’s former lawyer and peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, who left his White House job because he said he wanted to spend more time with family. While in Israel, Berkowitz met with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Netanyahu, and Gantz.