Kushner to Visit Jerusalem and Ramallah to Push for Peace DealBy
Trump’s son-in-law will make trip to Middle East this week
Visit will be Kushner’s third to region since Trump’s victory
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, will travel to the Middle East this week to push for a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, according to a White House official.
Kushner plans to travel to Israel on Wednesday for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. He will also meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, according to the official, who requested anonymity to discuss Kushner’s plans.
The trip comes as Kushner was said to be considering hiring criminal defense lawyers to represent him in a widening federal probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, the New York Times reported on Sunday. Kushner’s meetings with Russian officials and business executives have come under scrutiny as the investigation has probed links between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
The visit to the Middle East will be Kushner’s third since Trump was elected. It serves as a follow-up to the president’s visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem in May, when he called on Israelis and Palestinians to pursue a peace deal. Kushner, 36, also visited Iraq in April.
“I am personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement,’’ Trump said in Jerusalem on May 23. “With determination, compromise, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal.’’
The White House official said Kushner’s visit is likely to be one of many trips before significant progress is made toward a peace deal. Jason Greenblatt, the White House special representative for international negotiations, will arrive in the region Monday, according to the official. The two will work behind the scenes to advance direct talks between the parties, the official said.
Trump has separately met with Netanyahu and Abbas at the White House, and was hosted by both leaders during his first foreign trip as president.
Trump has previously said he believes he is uniquely qualified to broker a Middle East peace deal, and has put Kushner in charge of bringing one to fruition. Trump decided to delay fulfilling a campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in an attempt to advance the prospects of a peace agreement, the White House said earlier this month.
“I’ve always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians,’’ Trump said last month as he met Abbas in the White House. “Let’s see if we can prove them wrong, OK?’’