Kushner briefs Netanyahu on US reluctance to present peace plan — report
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Kushner briefs Netanyahu on US reluctance to present peace plan — report

Adviser and son-in-law of US president arrives in Israel with wife Ivanka Trump for embassy opening in capital

US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser, Jared Kushner (left), meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on August 24, 2017. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser, Jared Kushner (left), meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on August 24, 2017. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Sunday with Jared Kushner, the US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser in his office, in Jerusalem, and was reportedly briefed on the US reluctance to present their peace plan, Channel 10 reported.

According to Channel 10, the American team is hesitant to present its plan — which Trump has called “the deal of the century” — knowing that the Palestinians will likely reject it outright.

The two were joined by Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Though there have been many reported leaks of the Trump administration’s peace plan, as yet no details have been officially released and there has been no date for when it will be presented.

Nevertheless, the Palestinians have already said they will reject it, particularly following the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the decision to move the embassy to the city.

US President Donald Trump (r) with Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinowitz (c) at the Western Wall, in the Old City of Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

“It is because of this US decision to support illegality and the blatant violations of our rights, that we will not accept the US as the mediator in the peace process nor are we going to accept any plan from the US side,” Abbas said after the December 6 decision.  “The US chose to be biased. Their future plan for Palestine will not be based on the two-state solution on the 1967 border, nor will it be based on international law or UN resolutions.”

Abbas has called the plan, the “slap of the century,” and the Palestinians have since been boycotting US officials.

Kushner arrived in Israel, along with his wife Ivanka Trump and a high-level US delegation, for the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

A senior US official told Channel 10 that despite the delay in presenting the peace plan and the deterioration in Washington’s relationship with the Palestinians, the Americans are pleased with the warming of ties between Israel and the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

On Monday, the new embassy will be officially inaugurated in the capital’s Arnona neighborhood.

Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and other top Israeli officials are scheduled to attend.

“Seventy years ago, the United States, under President Harry S Truman, became the first nation to recognize the State of Israel,” the US State Department said in a statement Saturday.

“Moving our embassy is not a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace deal; rather it is a necessary condition for it. We are not taking a position on final status issues, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, nor on the resolution of contested borders.”

A poster praising US President Donald Trump covers an outside section of the “Diplomat Hotel”, adjacent to the US consulate in Jerusalem which will host the new US Embassy, on May 11, 2018.
( AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX)

Citing Trump’s December 6 speech, the statement said that “the historic opening of our embassy recognizes the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the seat of its government.”

The US Consulate General on Jerusalem’s Agron Street will continue to operate as an “independent mission with an unchanged mandate responsible for US relations with the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority,” the statement went on.

Some 800 guests are expected to attend Monday’s embassy inauguration. “These include religious and business leaders, journalists, academics, and government representatives from the United States. We have also invited several Israeli government representatives and political leaders to attend,” a US Embassy official told The Times of Israel last week.

“Given that the focus of the event is on US-Israeli relations, we did not extend an invitation to the foreign diplomatic corps,” the official added.

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.

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