WASHINGTON – Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, cancelled at the last minute his trip to Israel where he was expected to attend the World Holocaust Forum and discuss the possible release of the American Middle East peace plan, potentially before Israel's March 2 election.
Instead of landing in Israel ahead of Thursday's events, which will be attended by many world leaders, he will instead head to Washington following his visit to Switzerland, where he has been attending the World Economic Forum.
Hijacking the Holocaust for Putin, politics and power
>> Read more: Live updates: World Holocaust Forum set to begin in Israel ■ In new battle over Auschwitz legacy, Poland falls victim to Holocaust geopolitics | Analysis ■ The perils of discussing the Holocaust on social media ■ Facebook, the world's safest space for Holocaust denial | Opinion
The president's adviser and his team had decided to scrap the visit because they concluded that due to weather conditions in Switzerland, his flight to Israel would have been delayed to a point that it would not be efficient.
Most Israeli pundits had assumed that Kushner's planned trip was a “preparation visit” ahead of the peace plan’s release. Kushner’s close aide Avi Berkowitz, who is leading efforts on the plan inside the White House, was in Israel just two weeks ago. It was after this visit that rumors about the peace plan’s imminent release began to surface in the Israeli media.
Dan Shapiro, the previous U.S. ambassador to Israel and a senior adviser on Middle East policy to then-President Barack Obama, told Haaretz last week that he saw no reason for the White House to publish the plan right before the election – unless the entire purpose of the action was to help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The most common view among pundits in Israel is that Netanyahu would benefit from the plan’s imminent publication because it would help him distract the public from his corruption charges and his ongoing attempt to secure immunity from prosecution. The premier would prefer an election focused on foreign policy issues over one focused on corruption and internal divisions.