Kushner to visit Mideast soon to explore peace negotiations
Presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and two other top White House aides will soon visit Israel, the West Bank and several Arab capitals to explore prospects for Mideast peace negotiations now that a period of unrest has subsided, a White House official said Friday.
The trip, spanning several days later this month, is meant to show continued U.S. commitment despite the weeks-long spate of violence and political upheaval in Jerusalem and Jordan this summer, which had threatened to boil over into open conflict.
President Donald Trump remains optimistic about a deal resolving the decadeslong conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and he is seeking advice and support among Arab states Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar, said the senior official. The official requested anonymity to describe the evolving diplomacy.
Trump, the official said, remains “personally committed to achieving a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians that would help usher in an era of greater regional peace and prosperity.”
Trump is sending Kushner, Mideast negotiator Jason Greenblatt and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell in the hope of capitalizing on the calm following the crisis involving Israel’s installation of new security measures for Palestinian worshipers at a disputed Jerusalem holy site.
The crisis, the first during Trump’s presidency, forced a pause in the phased approach Trump’s advisers have adopted to address the conflict. Greenblatt and Kushner first embarked on a listening and learning effort that acknowledged their newness to the long conflict and entrenched positions. The men had begun to move toward more substantive conversations when violence erupted in July.
“President Trump has previously noted that achieving an enduring Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement will be difficult but he remains optimistic that peace is possible,” the official said. “To enhance the chances for peace, all parties need to engage in creating an environment conducive to peacemaking while affording the negotiators and facilitators the time and space they need to reach a deal.”
The trip comes about three weeks before Trump is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the United Nations General Assembly session in September.
It is not yet clear whether Trump will see Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the U.N. gathering. Trump has invited both leaders to the White House, and the president remarked during Abbas’s visit in May that Mideast peace might not be as hard as is commonly thought.