US special representative for International negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, and senior advisor and son-in law to Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, are set to visit leaders in Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar to discuss their nearly completed ‘Israel-Palestinian authority peace plan’ next week.
The trip will not include any discussion with Palestinian representatives since it has expressed rejection of US steps, which included declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, followed by moving the US embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The plan, which Trump has previously described as his “Ultimate Deal”, is apparently near completion, but a release date or specifics of what the plan will entail for the future of Palestine have yet to be confirmed. According to Al-Jazeera, the only hint of specifics so far came from leaks in March of this year from anonymous Palestinian officials, suggesting the latest unconfirmed draft of the plan aims to establish a Palestinian state on half of the west bank and Gaza, without Jerusalem as its capital. This tour will supposedly help them complete their final details; Kushner and Greenblatt are reportedly waiting until “the circumstances are right” to release the plan.
The plan will also discuss ‘humanitarian response’ to the crisis in Gaza, even though critics’ hopes for the plan’s position on Gaza are not high. In recent statements in the UN, US representatives have shifted focus away from Israel’s killing of unarmed civilians, instead putting the blame on Hamas, who they describe as a terrorist organization, and calling for member states to condemn rocket fire from Gaza. Earlier this month, the US vetoed the UN Security Council’s proposed resolution to offer protection to the Palestinian people. In light of this, many are finding it hard to see the US as committed to improving the lives of Palestinians in Gaza.
Palestinian responses have been clear: Tayseer Khaled, member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and member of the Politbureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, recently tweeted that “The American envoys to the region are not welcome”. The PA have refused to accept the US as having any role in the peace process, describing Washington as not ‘fit’ for the task after the Jerusalem statement.