WASHINGTON – Senior Trump administration officials met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York on Friday to discuss US efforts “to promote peace in the Middle East and to meet humanitarian needs in Gaza.”
The White House said Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, who are spearheading an effort to jump-start talks between Israelis and Palestinians, joined Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, for the meeting.
The three US officials “also discussed recent actions at the United Nations,” the White House readout of the meeting said. The UN has held competing votes in the Security Council and the General Assembly in recent days on the situation in Gaza, with a majority of members blaming Israel for a recent flare-up in tensions there.
The US proposed resolutions and amendments that would condemn Hamas for firing rockets and inciting protests on Israel’s border. All of those proposals were rejected.
Their meeting also comes on the heels of a report that the US will “imminently” withdraw from the Human Rights Council, furious over its “chronic anti-Israel bias” and refusal or inability to reform. While the Reuters story cited activists and diplomats claiming a US pullout is a “matter of if, not when,” a US official said the administration plans to engage in a threeweek session of the council convening in Geneva on Monday.
Kushner and Greenblatt will travel next week across the Middle East to gauge the region’s readiness for their peace plan, which is essentially complete. Officials describe the plan as a practical document that offers concrete proposals to resolve some of the stickiest points in the conflict.
Their tour will include visits to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Israel, the National Security Council said. It will not include meetings with the Palestinian Authority, which as recently as this week has dismissed the team as an arbiter of peace.
The PA cut off communications with the White House after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December, and moved the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.
Earlier this week, senior administration officials told The Jerusalem Post that the peace team will wait to release the plan until “the timing is right.”