Kushner, Other Senior U.S. Officials to Visit Mideast Next Week for Talks on Economic Chapter of Peace Plan

Source tells Haaretz that while trip will focus on economic part of peace plan, some talks will be devoted to Iran and recent Gulf tensions

Jared Kushner listens as he attends a working breakfast on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Jared Kushner is expected to visit Israel and other countries in the Middle East next week, as the Trump administration prepares to move forward with the next stages of its plan for Middle East peace.

A delegation of senior administration officials will visit the Middle East to discuss the economic chapter of the peace plan with leaders across the region, with a focus on promoting the international fund meant to support the plan.

The American delegation will, according to a source within the administration, be led by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser; Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East; Brian Hook, a state department official in charge of Iran policy; and Avi Berkowitz, a close aide and adviser to Kushner.

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The trip’s schedule has yet to be finalized, but will likely include stops in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

It will be Kushner and Greenblatt’s first visit to the region since the economic conference in late June. The visit will take place a month and a half before the September 17 Israeli election, and the Israeli stop will likely include a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

One of the main issues the delegation wants to promote is the international fund for supporting the Palestinian economy, which is detailed in the economic chapter of the peace plan.

The Trump administration is looking into the option of placing the fund’s offices in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, which also hosted a conference last month on the Palestinian economy. The administration hopes a location within the region, and in a country that has close relations to key players in the Arab world, will ease the fund’s establishment.

The source who spoke with Haaretz added that while the trip will focus on the peace plan, some of the discussions will also be devoted to Iran and the recent tensions in the Persian Gulf.

On Friday, Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized a British-flagged oil tanker. The U.K. denounced the seizure as a "hostile act" on Saturday, rejecting Tehran's explanation that it had seized the vessel because it had been involved in an accident.

Friday's action by Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the global oil trade's most important waterway has been viewed in the West as a major escalation in three months of confrontation that took Iran and the United States to the brink of war.