Jared Kushner, a White House adviser and son-in-law of President Donald Trump, wrapped up his trip to the Middle East on Thursday, for which the top priority on the agenda was furthering peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
The US described Kushner’s trip as “productive,” despite rumors of disquiet on the Palestinian side.
Kushner was accompanied on the two-day trip by Jason Greenblatt, the White House’s special representative for international negotiations, and Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser.
The team met with officials in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, as well as Jerusalem, Israel, and Ramallah in the West Bank.
Here’s how Kushner’s trip unfolded:
Kushner and his team met with Jordan’s King Abdullah on Tuesday, discussing efforts to push peace talks forward “based on the two-state solution as the only way to end the conflict,” according to an official Jordanian statement.
Trump has refused in the past to publicly commit to the so-called two-state solution, in which an independent Palestinian state would co-exist alongside Israel. Trump’s reluctance to embrace this solution is a departure from the official policy of the previous two presidential administrations.
Kushner also traveled to Cairo, Egypt, to discuss the peace talks, although he and his team were met with displeasure from Egyptian officials over the US recently announcing it would pull $95.7 million in military and economic aid over human-rights issues.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had notified Egyptian officials of the US’s decision on Tuesday, immediately prompting speculation that Kushner’s scheduled Wednesday meeting would be canceled, although State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert quickly denied that.
“Egypt sees this measure as reflecting poor judgment of the strategic relationship that ties the two countries over long decades and as adopting a view that lacks an accurate understanding of the importance of supporting Egypt’s stability,” the foreign ministry said in a statement to The Washington Post.
The Palestinians have reportedly grown frustrated with the Trump administration’s lack of a coherent plan to create peace.
- Osama Falah/PPO via Getty Images
Palestinian officials have reportedly complained in private about their belief that the Trump administration favors Israel’s positions and has neglected the Palestinian side.
“If the US team doesn’t bring answers to our questions this time, we are going to look into our options because the status quo is not working for our interests,” Ahmad Majdalani, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told The Associated Press.
Palestinians reacted largely with skepticism, and in some cases outright hostility to the presence of Kushner and his team.
Kushner’s arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday was met with forceful Palestinian protests. Many participants held up signs with unflattering images of Trump, his daughter Ivanka, and Kushner himself.
Palestinian media reported this week that Abbas is considering dissolving the Palestinian Authority if the US refuses to support a two-state solution.
- Osama Falah/PPO via Getty Images
The Palestinian Authority is the self-governing body that oversees millions of Palestinians in the West Bank. Previous Palestinian leaders have also threatened to dissolve the organization, but have never gone through with it.
But publicly, Abbas said little about that possibility during Kushner’s visit.
“Things are difficult and complicated,” Abbas said in a statement released as he was meeting with Kushner, according to The Wall Street Journal. “But nothing is impossible in the face of good efforts.”