WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump is adding staff to his Middle East peace team ahead of its rollout of a plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.The White House policy team, currently centered on three of the president’s closest advisers, is recruiting staffers from other government agencies to help them message the plan to the public. They also seek expert units on the plan’s political elements as well as its economic components, according to reporting by the Associated Press. Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser leading the peace effort; and Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations, “are expanding their team and the resources available as they finalize the details and rollout strategy of the peace initiative,” a National Security Council spokesman confirmed. “They continue to work very closely with the National Security Council staff and State Department.”David Friedman, the president’s ambassador to Israel, is also deeply involved in the planning.
The administration has been working on the plan for more than a year but few details are known of its contents. The team has yet to decide when it will begin the rollout, or how, including whether they will preview it with the parties before releasing it publicly.That will prove difficult with the Palestinian Authority, which cut off contact with the White House after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6 last year.Members of the team broadly describe the plan as a detailed, pragmatic outline for a resolution to the conflict, focused heavily on economic revitalization of the Palestinian territories and on Israeli security guarantees. Up until now, they have avoided using the term “two-state solution,” which has led Palestinians to believe the plan will not explicitly endorse their sovereignty claims.
Trump threatens to pull aid to Palestinians if they don't pursue peace at Davos, January 25, 2018 (REUTERS)