Trump pressures Arabs to pay for peace in stealth build-up to Middle East ‘deal of the century’
By Guy Taylor – The Washington Times – Tuesday, April 23, 2019
JERUSALEM — For an administration not exactly famed for strategic patience and deliberative policymaking, President Trump’s push for an impending Middle East “deal of the century” could be a notable outlier.
Trump administration officials have spent the past two years quietly pursuing back-channel communications with wealthy Gulf Arab powers and Palestinian business leaders in preparation for the much-anticipated rollout of a major peace plan aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all.
The pursuit has involved an exhaustive push to secure vast financial investments for Palestinian economic and infrastructure development from Saudi Arabia and others, The Washington Times has learned. And, after an extensive buildup, the plan is expected to be released in the coming weeks or months.
All of it is being headed by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who has developed a warm relationship with young Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and most recently visited Riyadh in February on a trip that included stops in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman.
Mr. Kushner this week gave the clearest hint yet of when his handiwork will be made public, telling a Washington event Tuesday U.S. diplomats are awaiting the official formation of a new government in Israel and the June 4 end of the Muslim Ramadan holiday.
“We’ll wait until after Ramadan, and then we’ll put our plan out,” Mr. Kushner said.