Kushner, Greenblatt Meet With Netanyahu in Israel on Peace Plan, Gaza

No meetings with the Palestinian leadership are planned, U.S. consulate spokesman says

From left: U.S. Ambassador Friedman, U.S. envoys Greenblatt and Kushner, Prime Minister Netanyahu and ambassador Dermer, in Jerusalem, June 22, 2018.
Haim Tzach / GPO

U.S. President Donald Trump's main Middle East advisers  – his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt  – met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Friday as part of a visit with regional leaders to discuss the U.S. peace plan and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The White House said Friday the two officials discussed ways "the humanitarian situation in Gaza can be alleviated, while maintaining Israel's security" and the administration's commitment "to advance peace."

In a statement, Netanyahu "expressed his gratitude" to Trump for his support.

Kushner and Greenblatt are set for two days of talks in Israel amid media reports that the White House seeks an international consensus for a regional peace plan. No meetings with the Palestinian leadership are planned.

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After talks with the Jordanian foreign minister, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that "the U.S. still has no plan that can be the basis for serious talks."

According to Israeli media reports, the administration is close to releasing a Middle East peace plan, a deal Trump said he wanted to focus on when he campaigned for president. 

Hopes for the Palestinians to approve any U.S.-backed peace plan grew dim last year when the U.S. announced it would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a city contested by both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Palestinians have since cut contacts to the White House.

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Peace prospects between Ramallah and Jerusalem appear slim given the weeks-long uprising in the Gaza Strip Protesters have pushed close to the fence separating Gaza from Israel, and Israel, which has said it seeks to prevent a breaching of the barrier, has responded at times with deadly force.

Kushner and Greenblatt have been on a tour of the Middle East in recent days, visiting Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt.

The duo is reportedly seeking regional approval for their proposed deal.
Their visits have also focused on aid for the Gaza Strip. Home to 2 million people, its economy is at the point of collapse because Israel and Egypt block travel from the region and much trade with it.

Netanyahu's office said Monday that the peace plan was one of the main subjects during his meeting with Abdullah.

Israel has said the controls are necessary to keep militants in the Strip from leaving and from gaining access to material for weapons.

A day after hosting Netanyahu in Amman, Jordan's King Abdullah met on Tuesday with Kushner, who focused on finalizing the Trump administration's peace plan and promoting economic projects in Gaza.

The fact that Kushner and Greenblatt arrived in Amman a day after Netanyahu visited Abdullah there for the first time since 2016 will likely be interpreted as a sign of Jordan's role in the promotion of the upcoming American peace plan.

DPA contributed to this report.