WASHINGTON — Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, is meeting on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem as part of a regional tour to promote the economic chapter of his Middle East peace plan.
Kushner arrived in Israel after visiting Jordan and Saudi Arabia, according to a diplomatic source involved in organizing the tour. During Kushner's visit to Amman, King Abdullah told the former the plan must be based on a two-state solution, and have East Jerusalem as the Palestinian's capital.
The meeting was attended by Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi and Assistant to the U.S. President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.
Kushner's meeting with Netanyahu was also attended by Brian Hook, the American special representative for Iran, Greenblatt, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer.
Kushner will not meet with Palestinian officials during his visit.
An official date to release the political component of the plan has not been set yet. It is expected to be published after the September 17 election.
On Wednesday, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Kushner is trying to convene a diplomatic summit with the attendance of representatives from Arab countries even before Israeli election in order to discuss the peace plan.
The White House said that "No summit has currently been planned. The Middle East team will report back to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. National Security Agency upon returning to discuss the many potential next steps to expand upon the success of the Bahrain workshop."
Meanwhile, hints about the content of the political chapter have been dropped in recent days.
Friedman, who is a vocal supporter of the settlement movement in the West Bank and has advocated against the establishment of a Palestinian state before he was appointed ambassador, told CNN that the administration "is not ready to talk about a Palestinian state" and would rather discuss a Palestinian extended autonomy in the Israeli-controlled West Bank.
Asked by journalist Christiane Amanpour if the United States is committed to a two-state solution, Friedman said “We believe in Palestinian autonomy, we believe in Palestinian self-governance. We believe that autonomy should be extended up until the point where it interferes with Israeli security.”
Citing security concerns, Friedman said a Palestinian state at this stage “is an existential threat to Israel, to Jordan,” arguing it would become a hub for terrorist groups.
“The last thing the world needs is a failed Palestinian state. Right now the Palestinian government is so weak,” he said, adding that the U.S. administration wants the Palestinians to have an economy and govern themselves.
Greenblatt said a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would be the Iranian regime's "worst nightmare," in an opinion piece published by Fox News overnight Tuesday.
"A successful comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is among the important tools we have to help bring regional stability and prevent Iranian terror," Greenblatt wrote in the opinion piece that was co-authored by Hook.
"The Iranian regime’s regional aggression has brought the Arab nations and Israel together to an unprecedented degree, creating cooperation that can ultimately help advance diplomatic progress in other areas, including peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer – if it ever was – the core conflict of the region," Greenblatt and Hook wrote.
In June, the Trump administration revealed the economic chapter of the plan during the peace conference in Bahrein sponsored by the United States, which was attended by representatives and prominent businessmen from several Arab countries.
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