President Donald Trump is dispatching a team led by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner to Israel in pursuit of a Middle East peace deal.
Trump’s sending the delegation to try to take advantage of a period of relative calm following violent clashes last month over Israeli security arrangements at the Jerusalem shrine known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, said a senior administration official who requested anonymity to discuss the negotiations.
Kushner will be joined by Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell on the trip, which will include meetings with leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The US president wants to set an ambitious agenda for the talks, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, efforts to combat extremism, and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the official said.
Trump has said he is hopeful his son-in-law can help restart a peace process that has made little headway over the past 25 years. He made addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict an early priority, hosting leaders from both sides at the White House during the opening months of his presidency and visiting Israel during his first international trip as president.
During the visit of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in May, Trump said a peace agreement “is frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years.” He told reporters that negotiators would get a deal done, even while acknowledging that he had heard that “perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”