Trump peace team returning to Mideast

Jared Kushner and Jason Greeblatt, among others, will visit Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and three Gulf countries in a follow-up to the Bahrain economic summit.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

U.S. President Donald Trump’s top Middle East negotiators will make another trip to the Middle East at the beginning of August to build on the momentum of the recent Bahrain conference, senior administration officials said Sunday.

Top negotiators Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt will be joined by Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, and Kushner advisor Avi Berkowitz as they swing through Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

The trip’s purpose is to examine how to put into practice some of the billions of dollars’ worth of plans for improving the Palestinian economy that were discussed at last month’s “Peace to Prosperity” workshop. The Palestinian Authority boycotted the event, claiming it was an American attempt to buy off Palestinians’ national aspirations.

Israel’s Channel 13 reported that the Americans will be discussing the establishment of an international fund responsible for collecting the necessary money and investing it in the Palestinian economy. They would also like to get an idea of how much each government they’re visiting would be willing to put into the fund.

Kushner met last week with Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who agreed to host the fund. This pleased the Americans, who want to show that there is Gulf support for Trump’s peace plan.

Another purpose of the upcoming trip is to gain the consent of the other countries for the proposed location for negotiations.

However, the economic part of what has been dubbed “the deal of the century” will be implemented only if the Palestinians and Israelis manage to reach a political agreement.

The Americans are still unsure whether the political part of the administration’s peace deal should be revealed before or after the Israeli elections in September, said the Channel 13 report. Greenblatt said last week that the president would make that decision soon.