Kushner and Greenblatt to visit region, discuss peace plan

White House senior adviser and Middle East envoy to travel to five Arab countries, brief diplomats on economic portion of US peace proposal.

Elad Benari ,

Kushner and Greenblatt at the UN with Nikki Haley
Kushner and Greenblatt at the UN with Nikki Haley

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will travel to at least five Arab countries in late February to brief diplomats on the economic portion of the US peace proposal for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), officials said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Kushner, who is also President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, plan to stop in Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on their week-long trip, two senior White House officials said.

They may add two other countries to their itinerary, they added.

Kushner and Greenblatt, who will be joined by State Department envoy Brian Hook and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz, will not brief the diplomats on the “political component” of the peace plan, which covers all core issues of the decades-old Israel-PA conflict, the officials said.

Instead, they will gauge the level of support for the economic part of the plan, which is expected to include a combination of aid and investment to help the Palestinian people, the officials told Reuters.

“Jared is going to share elements of the economic plan to the region. The economic plan only works if the region supports it,” said one official who briefed a small group of reporters. “This is a very important part of the overall equation.”

The economic plan is widely expected to include international funding proposals for the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Officials said they realized that the Arab diplomats Kushner meets will want to know elements of the political component before rendering a judgment on the economic plan.

Kushner and Greenblatt are not expected to visit Israel on this trip, according to Channel 13 News’ Barak Ravid. However, Kushner will likely meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Warsaw next week during the Middle East conference taking place there. Earlier this week it was reported that Kushner is expected to share an update about the peace plan during a public session at that conference.

Little is known thus far about the peace plan, which is not expected to be unveiled until after the April 9 election in Israel. A Channel 13 report in January claimed that it would include the establishment of a Palestinian state in about 90 percent of Judea and Samaria, with at least part of eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

However, US envoy Jason Greenblatt, who is working on the plan alongside Kushner, rejected that report, saying it was inaccurate.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has rejected the US peace plan being formulated by the Trump administration before it has even been unveiled.

The PA has been boycotting the US ever since President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December of 2017.

The Israel-PA peace process has been frozen since 2014, when PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas breached conditions of talks that were ongoing at the time by unilaterally joining international treaties and conventions.