Senior US team to visit Middle East for talks on Washington’s peace plan
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Senior US team to visit Middle East for talks on Washington’s peace plan

Envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt to visit Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, starting from next week

(L-R) Brian Hook, US special representative for Iran, Trump adviser Jared Kushner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Israel's US envoy Ron Dermer, at a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office, in Jerusalem, on May 30, 2019. (Ziv Sokolov/US Embassy Jerusalem)
Illustrative. (Left to Right) Brian Hook, US special representative for Iran, Trump adviser Jared Kushner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Israel's US envoy Ron Dermer, in a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office, in Jerusalem, on May 30, 2019. (Ziv Sokolov/US Embassy Jerusalem)

Senior US officials are set arrive in the region next week to further discuss the Trump administration’s forthcoming Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, a senior US official told The Times of Israel Sunday.

The US delegation includes US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, US special peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, Kushner’s senior aid Avi Berkowitz, and Brian Hook, the administration’s point man on Iran.

They are set to travel to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, said the senior official, who asked not to be named, as he was not authorized to speak about the visit to press.

“The purpose of the visit is to follow up on the Bahrain workshop,” the official said, referring to last month’s “Peace to Prosperity” summit in Manama, during which the administration presented the economic part of its two-pronged peace proposal.

“We would like to finalize the plan’s economic portion, including to discuss the potential placement of the investments,” the official said, referring to the $50 billion investment packaged for the Palestinians and the wider region proposed by the plan.

The delegation’s trip is to be understood as the conclusion of the first stage of the peace plan’s unveiling, but not yet as the overture to the presentation of the political part, the official stresses.

Jared Kushner, right, and Jason Greenblatt, left, attend the opening session of a Middle East peace conference in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images via JTA)

The White House has indicated that it is waiting until after a government is formed in Israel following September 17 elections before it releases the political part of the peace plan, and has not revealed any of its details.

In late June, the White House revealed the economic part of its plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which proposes billions of dollars in investments in infrastructure projects in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and neighboring Arab countries.

Days after publicizing the economic part of the plan, the White House also co-sponsored a conference in Bahrain, which focused on it. The Palestinians fiercely opposed the workshop in the Gulf country, arguing any peace effort must address political matters before economic ones.

Greenblatt has previously stated that the publication of the political section of the plan may be postponed until around early November, when he predicted a new Israeli government would be formed. The administration said it originally planned to release the proposal over the summer, but was forced to push back those plans, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called repeat elections in May, having failed to cobble together a coalition.

Netanyahu has said he will keep an “open mind” about the US peace proposal, while PA President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed on many occasions to reject the US plan.

Shortly after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in December 2017, and initiated the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the Palestinians significantly downgraded their ties with Washington, including cutting relations with the White House.

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