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June 13, 2018 9:48 am

US Negotiation Team Heading to Israel, Middle East to Push Peace Plan

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) in Jerusalem with US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt (left), US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Trump’s adviser Jared Kushner in June 2017. Photo: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv. – US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and White House special adviser Jared Kushner will arrive in Israel as part of a Middle East tour next week to discuss previously undisclosed details of a peace plan being promoted by US President Donald Trump.

The delegation is also expected to visit Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The trip may be further expanded to include additional countries.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman traveled to Washington early in the week to help finalize the plan along with Kushner and Greenblatt ahead of their trip.

While the Trump administration is viewed favorably among Israelis–due to his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the moving of the US embassy in May, and the cancellation of the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal–the administration has lost credibility within the Palestinian Authority.  PA leader President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to take part in any peace initiatives led by Trump, and has cutoff all formal contact with the administration, including a refusal to meet with Vice President Mike Pence in January. Recently Greenblatt and top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat engaged in a war of words, with Erekat accusing Greenblatt of promoting Israeli policy.

The American tour will also focus on easing the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Israel, Egypt, and the international community provide relief aid to the region, yet Hamas–which governs the strip–often misappropriates funds and supplies for terror activity. During recent protests, terrorists similarly attacked infrastructure that provides Gazans with basic resources including electricity and natural gas.

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