Kushner to visit Middle East

Jared Kushner will visit the Middle East next week as part of efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Kushner will lead a delegation expected to include Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook.  Although not confirmed, it is understood that they will visit Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. Haaretz has reported that the team will mainly discuss the economic plan published ahead of the Bahrain conference in an attempt to generate support for the international investment fund for the Palestinians. Haaretz added that: “The Trump administration is looking into the option of placing the fund’s offices in Bahrain’s capital, Manama […] The administration hopes a location within the region, and in a country that has close relations to key players in the Arab world, will ease the fund’s establishment.”

A US official, speaking anonymously, said: “We would like to finalise the plan’s economic portion, including to discuss the potential placement of the investments.” The economic plan, published in June, proposed a $50 billion investment package for the Palestinians and wider region.

Last night, US President Donald Trump tweeted to congratulate Benjamin Netanyahu on becoming the longest-serving Prime Minister in Israel’s history. He said: “Under your leadership, Israel has become a technology powerhouse and a world class economy […] You have led Israel with a commitment to the values of democracy freedom, and equal opportunity that both our nations cherish and share!” Netanyahu responded “I’m honoured to have the opportunity to work with you.  Under your leadership, we’ve made the alliance between our two remarkable countries stronger than ever.  I know there is more to come.”