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Trump’s Middle East envoys return from region with low expectations of peace plan

Advisers Greenblatt and Kushner reconsidering the proper time to unveil their plan in wake of talks with Arab leaders and continued Palestinian boycott, say sources to Israel Hayom • King Abdullah reportedly voiced opposition to plan going over the head of the P.A.

From left: U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Special Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, White House adviser Jared Kushner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, meeting in Jerusalem, June 22, 2018. Credit: U.S. Embassy in Israel.
From left: U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Special Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, White House adviser Jared Kushner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, meeting in Jerusalem, June 22, 2018. Credit: U.S. Embassy in Israel.

Trump administration officials believe that the likelihood of a successful rollout of its upcoming Mideast peace plan are very low, three sources told Israel Hayom.

According to the sources, Jared Kushner, senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, and special envoy Jason Greenblatt have communicated this sentiment in private conversations in the wake of their visit to the region, although there has been no confirmation from the White House as to the authenticity of this report.

The pessimistic outlook is based on the Palestinians’ ongoing boycott of the administration in the wake of the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

As a consequence of this realization, the two are reportedly reconsidering the proper timing for the plan’s unveiling. According to the sources who spoke to Israel Hayom, the two have said in private conversations that they are planning to revise the plan in the wake of the recent visit. The sources got the impression that a significant part of the plan will focus on economic development in the Palestinian Authority.

The sources say that during their visit to the region, Arab leaders told the two advisers that they were opposed to a plan that would talk directly to the Palestinian people by bypassing the Palestinian leadership. Jordan’s King Abdullah was particularly against such a move and expressed this sentiment during his visit this week to the White House. Abdullah reportedly said that unveiling the plan without coordinating with the Palestinians would be a “catastrophe.”

Discussions between Kushner and Greenblatt with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week were reportedly more focused on humanitarian aspects and on ways to bolster the Palestinian economy, rather than on the actual terms of the peace plan.

The sources told Israel Hayom that despite the hesitation, the two advisers are saying in closed circles that they would go ahead and release the plan at some point.

Kushner told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds last week that if P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas continued to boycott the United States, the plan might be revealed without consulting him. “We have continued our work on the plan and on building consensus on what is realistically achievable today and what will endure for the future,” said Kushner. “If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage; if he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly.”

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