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October 17, 2019 3:16 pm

Trump Envoy Kushner to Visit Israel at End of Month to Assess Possibility of Unveiling Long-Awaited Peace Plan

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is interviewed by Reuters at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, June 20, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque / File.

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner will visit Israel at the end of the month in preparation for unveiling the administration’s “deal of the century” plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The Israeli news site Walla reported that Kushner will likely meet with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top rival, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, to assess the political situation in Israel, which is currently in flux as neither Netanyahu nor Gantz appears currently able to form a government following September’s Knesset elections.

If it takes place, this would be Kushner’s first meeting with Gantz. The Trump administration, which is widely perceived as staunchly pro-Netanyahu, avoided meeting Gantz until just after the September vote, when US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman did so for the first time.

Trump had planned to reveal his peace plan in January, but held off due to pending Israeli elections in April, which proved inconclusive, prompting another delay until a second round of elections. These also resulted in no clear winner, forcing the administration to postpone the release of the plan again until a governing coalition could be formed, a possibility that looks remote at the moment.

Furthermore, Walla noted, the previously-close relationship between Netanyahu and Trump appears to be fraying. The two have not spoken since last month’s elections ended with the prime minister seriously weakened.

Kushner’s visit will be part of a larger Middle East swing, including a stop at a high-profile conference hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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