The White House is unlikely to present its Middle ‎East peace plan before August, a source familiar ‎with the issue told Israel Hayom on Thursday. Jerusalem ‎officials confirmed they had no information ‎regarding an earlier rollout of a peace plan. ‎

A National ‎Security Council spokesperson said ‎senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner and ‎Special Representative for ‎International ‎Negotiations Jason Greenblatt are expected to travel ‎to ‎Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia “to discuss the ‎situation ‎in Gaza and to discuss the next stages of ‎the peace effort, as well ‎as get some ideas from ‎players in the region about some remaining ‎questions ‎the White House peace team has. The trip may include ‎‎other stops as well.”

While in Israel, Kushner and Greenblatt are scheduled ‎to team with Ambassador to Israel David ‎Friedman ‎for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ‎Netanyahu. ‎

Since President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as ‎Israel’s capital, the Palestinians have refused to ‎meet with American officials, citing their “gross ‎bias” towards Israel. As such, Kushner and ‎Greenblatt are ‎not scheduled to meet with anyone ‎from Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s ‎government.‎ ‎

Friedman was ‎called to Washington earlier this week ‎to help the Trump administration prepare to ‎present ‎its forthcoming Middle East peace plan, but the ‎ambassador then embarked on a vacation, signaling ‎that the administration was in no ‎hurry to present its plan.‎

According to the White House, one of the main issues ‎the two envoys are expected to discuss with ‎Netanyahu is the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. ‎

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the issue is ‎on the agenda, stressing that “Hamas is responsible ‎for the dire situation in Gaza. Instead of improving ‎the lives of Gaza residents, Hamas uses the ‎Palestinian population as a human shield in its ‎ongoing terrorist war against Israel.” ‎

It added that “Abbas only exacerbated the humanitarian ‎plight in Gaza by cutting the salaries [of civil ‎employees] in Gaza and refusing to pay for the ‎enclave’s power electricity.” ‎

‎The statement said “Israel will continue to defend itself and to ‎protect its citizens and will demand the return of ‎IDF soldiers and civilians held by Hamas. The prime ‎minister will discuss the situation in Gaza with ‎Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman.”


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