The United States plans to hold a multilateral conference at Camp David, where U.S. President Donald Trump intends to unveil the political dimension of his long-awaited peace initiative to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
At the behest of the American leader, and in accordance with his Administration’s declared “regional approach,” Senior White House Adviser for Middle Eastern affairs Jared Kushner embarked on an official tour of the Middle East this morning, during which he is scheduled to hold talks with the leaders of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
While the leaders of the Arab states will receive an official invitation, a U.S. official told TV7 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not expected attend the conference, as the presiding assessment cautions that participation by an Israeli Prime Minister will be an impediment to the Arab invitees.
It is important to note, however, that despite the expected absence of the Israeli leader, the U.S.-initiated-conference was formulated in full cooperation with Jerusalem – and is expected to be held before the nearing Parliamentary elections in Israel, which are scheduled for the 17th of September.
Meanwhile in Jerusalem, the Israeli security cabinet approved an initiative by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to construct 700 new housing units in Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israel’s full Administrative and Security control. Jerusalem’s decision to allow the construction, which was labeled by the Israeli government as a gesture of goodwill to the Palestinians, was reportedly made following intensive pressure that was applied on the Netanyahu government by the Trump Administration. As such, Netanyahu’s decision is widely interpreted by analysts as an overture designed to help White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner during his meetings with Arab leaders, ahead of the anticipated Camp David Conference.
In contrast to Israel’s apparent efforts to assist the United States ahead of the multilateral high-profiled Conference, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held an emergency meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman last week, during which the two leaders discussed the latest developments pertaining to the anticipated unveiling of the political dimension of the so-called “Deal of the Century.” While Jerusalem perceived the meeting as an effort by the Palestinians to tie the king’s hands in advance of Kushner’s visit, Palestinian officials told TV7 that the meeting aimed to coordinate the official positions of Ramallah and Amman. Shortly after the meeting, King Abdullah issued a statement in which he reiterated Jordan’s unremitting support of the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital—two demands that Kushner is trying to avoid.