President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner hopes to drum up support for the economic aspects of his "deal of the century," a controversial backchannel plan to reach peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner is leading a US delegation on stops in the Middle East this week seeking support for a late June workshop on the economic aspects of the so-called "deal of the century," a White House official said on Tuesday.
Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and US Special Representative for Iran and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz began their trip in Rabat and were to travel to Amman and Jerusalem, arriving in Israel on Thursday.
Kushner will then meet up with US President Donald Trump in London when the president makes a state visit there next week.
The trip is similar to the one that Kushner and Greenblatt took in February to Gulf states to drum up support for the economic portion of a so-called Middle East peace plan that they have been developing on behalf of Trump.
The ''deal of the century," a backchannel plan to reach peace between the Palestinians and Israel, has already been rejected by the Palestinians who have urged Arab nations to follow suit.
Since taking office in early 2017, Trump has been formulating the plan, along with Kushner, who is also his son-in-law, and special Mideast envoy Greenblatt.
According to past statements by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the scheme would give Israel parts of the West Bank that are considered "occupied territory" under international law.
Investments in West Bank and Gaza
The official said one reason for this week's trip is to bolster support for a June 25-26 conference in Manama, Bahrain, in which Kushner is to unveil the first part of Trump's long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian "peace plan."
The plan is to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza by Arab donor countries before grappling with thorny political issues at the heart of the conflict.
While Palestinian leaders have been sharply critical of the plan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have said they will participate, and a senior US official said officials from Qatar have said privately their country was expected to attend as well.
The participants in the conference in Manama are expected to include 300 to 400 representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and possibly some Palestinian business leaders.
A source familiar with the planning said it appeared Egypt, Jordan, and Oman, as well as the G7 countries, would be sending representatives to the conference.