Jared Kushner Headed to Middle East to Broker Peace Talks

Jared Kushner, the presidential adviser who oversees a bulging policy portfolio but operates mainly behind the scenes in his father-in-law’s White House, is stepping out this week, meeting with technology executives on Monday and making a foray into Middle East diplomacy days later. 

Mr. Kushner will travel to Israel on Wednesday and join Jason D. Greenblatt, President Trump’s chief negotiator in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, for meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. He is also scheduled to go to the West Bank for a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority.

White House officials played down the likelihood of a breakthrough during Mr. Kushner’s trip. But his participation is a potent reminder of the importance Mr. Trump has attached to achieving an elusive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

It also demonstrates Mr. Kushner’s determination not to let investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia, or his own business dealings, distract him from his day-to-day work. A senior administration official said Mr. Kushner’s trip to the Mideast had been planned for several weeks as a way to build on the president’s visit to Jerusalem last month.

Several officials said this could be the first trip in which Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt delved into the nitty-gritty of a possible peace agreement — borders, security and other questions that have bedeviled American peacemakers for decades — by asking both sides to list their priorities for negotiations.

“Part of it is to figure out how to make incremental change that results in a lasting peace,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said on Monday. “Part of this is really to utilize the trust that has been built up, and not have these negotiations out in public. But I think that they had a very successful visit when the president was over there, and they’re going to continue to build on that.”

There have been growing expectations, fueled in part by Mr. Trump’s optimistic pronouncements, that the White House will invite the two sides to Washington in the coming months to negotiate directly. But two officials said that was not the goal of this trip.

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Source: The New York Times /