US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace team has been holding off the record meetings with American Jewish groups and briefing them on what can be expected of the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, the Jerusalem Post reported today.
The team, led by the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt, has been participating in briefing sessions and conference calls with Jewish organisations and donors to US political parties, in an attempt to alleviate any concerns they may have prior to its official release and to stem potential criticism of the plan.
Kushner and Greenblatt reportedly held several such meetings in New York this week, alongside US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley, who on Tuesday described the plan as “thorough”.
Yesterday, news leaked of an event at the Pierre Hotel, hosted by Democratic donor Haim Saban and Republican donor Paul Singer and attended by several former Mideast diplomats, including Martin Indyk and Elliot Abrams. Jason Greenblatt later took to Twitter to confirm that “peace efforts” had been discussed.
It was an honor to attend a bi-partisan dinner last night with @nikkihaley & @jaredkushner co-hosted by Haim Saban & Paul Singer. We discussed the Middle East, the U.S.-Israel relationship & our peace efforts. We thank Haim & Paul & their guests for the important dialogue. pic.twitter.com/dwnB6kHHd8
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) September 5, 2018
During the event, Haley also reportedly told attendees that the US was considering suspending aid to countries who vote against Israel at the UN.
The US has been working on the second edition of its proposed “deal of the century” since last summer, after its initial release was met with criticism. The proposal had ruled out the two-state solution as an answer to the crisis, instead giving Jordan and Egypt control of the West Bank and Gaza respectively. The plan was further undermined a week later, when leaked footage revealed Kushner expressing doubt as to whether there was any solution to the conflict.
The details have not been released, but preliminary reports indicate that the second peace deal will also not call for a two-state solution and will not urge a “fair and just solution” to the issue of Palestinian refugees looking to return, as previous proposals have done.
The White House has previously argued that committing to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would make the US a biased intermediary.
Relations between the US and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have soured following the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Washington has also cut all aid to the Palestinian refugee organisation UNRWA, plunging the UN agency into a financial crisis.