Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom revealed on Sunday that Avi Berkowitz, President Donald Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations and his adviser, is expected to arrive in Israel in his first visit since his appointment as successor to the envoy Jason Greenblatt in early November.
The visit, which has officially started on Sunday morning, comes against the backdrop of severe regional tension, especially after the assassination of the commander of the Quds Force in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Qasem Soleimani, by the United States in an airstrike in Baghdad.
The newspaper added that Berkowitz, who was an advisor to Trump’s son-in-law and chief adviser Jared Kushner, is now responsible for presenting and introducing the US peace plan known internationally as the “Deal of the Century” that Greenblatt developed with the US ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Kushner.
The US administration had previously made clear the plan had already been completed and ready to be presented, but this will only be achieved when both parties are prepared for it.
The newspaper pointed out that the continuing political uncertainty in Israel means that the peace plan has been frozen for months, and it is not expected that it will be officially published until the formation of a government in Israel; that is, after the upcoming parliamentary elections on 2 March.
However, the economic part of the peace plan, which focuses on massive investments in projects that may facilitate the Palestinians’ daily living, especially in the area of regional infrastructure, was published last June in the Bahrain Workshop, which was attended by Israeli and Palestinian businessmen.
The newspaper stated that Berkowitz is expected to meet with Israeli officials to discuss the latest developments. However, no “interesting” statements have been issued on whether Trump has decided to change his policy and unveil the plan during the campaign.
Israel Hayom also pointed out that the visit of the special envoy came when headlines in Iran were all about the assassination of Soleimani, which may warn of an escalation against Hamas and Hezbollah and may also affect the peace process and governance strategy.
The newspaper added that it is not known whether Berkowitz will meet Palestinian officials, suggesting that he is not expected to do so in light of the Palestinian Authority’s boycott of the US administration since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.