The team behind the US 'Deal of the Century' is heading to Israel
WASHINGTON – The entire US peace team – Jared Kushner, Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook – are headed to Israel and expected to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, The Jerusalem Post has confirmed.
Axios first reported on Sunday that Kushner is expected to arrive in Israel to take part in the international holocaust forum and to meet Netanyahu and Gantz. Now, special representative for international negotiation Berkowitz and special representative for Iran Hook, who is also part of the peace team, are expected to join him as well.
It is not clear if there are any other meetings planned, as the three would arrive in Israel while dozens of foreign leaders are visiting the country. The team also expected to attend the economic forum in Davos on Tuesday, as the group discusses with world leaders the possible move.
The administration is seriously considering releasing the peace plan before Israel's election in March. The team is aware that a decision should be taken in the upcoming days to avoid rolling out the document too close to the elections in Israel.
The team also considers the Senate impeachment trial that is currently underway. It is hard to imagine a scenario in which the team reveals the plan before the trial is over.
It is the second time in the last couple of weeks that a representative of the peace team visit Israel. On January 7, Avi Berkowitz, assistant to US President Donald Trump and special representative for international negotiations, together with Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, met with Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Residence to discuss the Trump administration's peace plan. The two also met later with Gantz. The visit has marked Berkowitz's first trip to Israel since he formally succeeded Jason Greenblatt in November.
The US peace team originally planned to roll out the political part of the plan last summer but decided to wait until a new government in Israel was sworn in. Since then, Israel has been experiencing an unprecedented political deadlock, and now faces a third round of elections.
The peace team is, therefore, facing a decision between two difficult choices. The first is releasing the plan despite the political stalemate in Israel, which could hurt the prospects of its success. The second is to wait until Israel elections in March, which could result in a deadlock yet again. In that case, it might be too late to release the plan so close to the US presidential elections in November.
Prior to Kushner's arrival in Israel, he will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where US President Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver a feature address on Tuesday.
On Monday the European Union's foreign ministers held a pre-scheduled meeting in Brussels where they discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the peace process, which has been frozen for the last six years. The EU is at odds with the US over a resolution to conflict, as it supports a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines. While the US has been clear that it seeks a different type of resolutions in its Deal of the Century.