Diplomacy

U.S. Diplomatic Team in Mideast Re-Establishing Ties With Allies

On Tuesday’s meeting with Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, Jordan’s King Abdullah II praised the United States’ commitment to working towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Kushner, who was accompanied to the Middle East by U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, also discussed how to enhance the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Jordan, the Jordan Times reported.

The latest trip to the Middle East by Trump administration officials comes following a reorganization of the negotiations team, as the team is now more closely tied to National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster. Victoria Coates, a former foreign policy adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (R – Texas), who was also on the National Security Council joined Greenblatt’s team as senior director of international negotiations, Politico reported.

“Renewed U.S. engagement with our Middle East allies is welcome and badly needed,” said Josh Block, president and CEO of The Israel Project, told Politico. “The task requires someone in the White House who can manage the many diverse levels of the bilateral relationship, and the decision to move Victoria Coates to the center of the portfolio is a signal that these issues will get the attention and seriousness they need.”

The Israel Project publishes The Tower.

Kushner, Greenblatt, and Powell traveled to the Middle East Saturday night and have met with officials from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Jordan. They are scheduled to arrive in Israel Wednesday evening.

It was announced earlier this month that administration officials would be making another trip to the region to work towards restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians with no preconditions.

Despite the administration’s interest in restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority is once again talking about pursuing unilateral moves to achieve statehood. PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told British Secretary of State for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt, “We convinced the international community that the best way to reach a state is through negotiations. But after 24 years of negotiations, we have not gotten anything,” The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

Maliki called for the “imposition of peace” by the international community through the establishment of a Palestinian state, instead of achieving peace through negotiations with Israel.

In the final push to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians by the previous administration in 2014, it was Abbas who blocked any progress. PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed a reconciliation deal with Hamas—without informing Israel first—thus bringing about “the collapse of yet another gallant effort at Israeli-Palestinian peace-making,” Michael Herzog, a former Israeli peace negotiator wrote in March of this year.

A meeting between Greenblatt and Palestinian officials in June resulted in heightened friction due to the PA’s refusal to stop paying salaries to convicted terrorists and their families.

[Photo: Twitter]