(June 15, 2018 / Israel Hayom) The White House is unlikely to present its Middle East peace plan before August, a source familiar with the issue told Israel Hayom on Thursday. Jerusalem officials confirmed they had no information regarding an earlier rollout of a peace plan.
A U.S. National Security Council spokesperson said senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt are expected to travel to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia “to discuss the situation in Gaza and to discuss the next stages of the peace effort, as well as get some ideas from players in the region about some remaining questions the White House peace team has. The trip may include other stops as well.”
While in Israel, Kushner and Greenblatt are scheduled to team with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Since U.S. President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Palestinians have refused to meet with American officials, citing their “gross bias” towards Israel. As such, Kushner and Greenblatt are not scheduled to meet with anyone from Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s government.
Friedman was called to Washington earlier this week to help the Trump administration prepare to present its forthcoming Middle East peace plan, but the ambassador then embarked on a vacation, signaling that the administration was in no hurry to present its plan.
According to the White House, one of the main issues the two envoys are expected to discuss with Netanyahu is the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the issue is on the agenda, stressing that “Hamas is responsible for the dire situation in Gaza. Instead of improving the lives of Gaza residents, Hamas uses the Palestinian population as a human shield in its ongoing terrorist war against Israel.”
It added that “Abbas only exacerbated the humanitarian plight in Gaza by cutting the salaries [of civil employees] in Gaza and refusing to pay for the enclave’s power electricity.”
The statement said “Israel will continue to defend itself and to protect its citizens and will demand the return of IDF soldiers and civilians held by Hamas. The prime minister will discuss the situation in Gaza with Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman.”