Kushner to Visit Israel Next Week to Discuss Mideast Peace Efforts

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Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner sits before the start of an Iftar dinner at the White House in Washington, June 6, 2018.
Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner sits before the start of an Iftar dinner at the White House in Washington, June 6, 2018. Credit: \ JOSHUA ROBERTS/ REUTERS

WASHINGTON – Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, is slated to visit Israel next week to discuss the Trump administration's attempts to present a plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Kushner's visit, first reported by Channel 10, will not include any meetings with Palestinian officials, as the Trump administration has had no contacts with the Palestinians for over six months. Kushner will meet Israeli officials and possibly also officials from neighboring Arab countries.

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The Palestinian Authority has cut off official contacts with the Trump administration after the president announced the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas decided to boycott the administration, and has refused to meet American representatives who visited the Middle East, including Vice President Mike Pence. Last month, Trump's UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, walked out of a UN Security Council session while the Palestinian representative was speaking

The Trump administration has been working on a Middle East peace plan for more than a year now, and is considering publishing it by the end of this month. Very few details of the plan have been reported, and the Palestinians have accused the administration of totally accepting the positions of Israel's right-wing government and ignoring the Palestinian stance on core issues of the conflict. A White House official denied these claims in a conversation with Haaretz, saying that the administration wants the plan to be "sellable" on both sides. 

In the absence of official communication between the two sides, they have instead elected to argue with each other about their respective policies in the pages of Haaretz. Three weeks ago, the top Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, published an article in Haaretz slamming the Trump administration for its Jerusalem decision and for its broader Middle East policy.On Sunday, Trump's special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Jason Greenblatt, shot back at Erekat in his own article, in which he accused Erekat of letting down the Palestinian people. On Monday, Erekat provided a response to Greenblatt's rebuttal in which he dismissed an upcoming American peace plan which was dubbed "deal of the century" by Trump as "nothing less than dictating illegal policies and further violations of international law."

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