Jared Kushner visits Saudi Arabia to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, traveled to Saudi Arabia last week without announcement in a bid to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace.

“The Senior Advisor to the President, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy, and the Special Representative for International Negotiations recently returned from Saudi Arabia,” a senior administration official said Sunday in an email to JTA, referring to, respectively, Kushner, Dina Powell and Jason Greenblatt.

“The Senior Advisor has also been in frequent contact with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Saudi Arabia,” the official said.

The visit took place last week. Greenblatt traveled afterward to Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian areas and Jordan, the official said and will be returning to the area in coming weeks.

The official emphasized that while Trump is seeking broad support for Israeli-Palestinian peace, its terms are best left to the parties.

“While these regional talks will play an important role, the president reaffirms that peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties and that the United States will continue working closely with the parties to make progress toward that goal,” the official said. “No deal will be imposed on Israelis and Palestinians; We are committed to facilitating a deal that improves conditions for both parties.”

Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have said they favor a comprehensive Israeli-Arab deal coincident with an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, accompanied Trump on his first overseas trip as president, in June, which included Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

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