Kushner heads to Mideast to talk peace

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will travel to Israel and Ramallah in the West Bank this week.

Kushner will arrive Wednesday, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and then going to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Kushner trip was first reported in the Wall Street Journal.

President Donald Trump has made it clear that working toward achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a top priority for him, a White House official told CNN.

Trump has asked some of his most trusted advisers to spearhead that effort, including son-in-law Kushner and assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt. The two men work closely together.

Greenblatt, who works as the administration’s Israeli-Palestinian negotiator, will travel to the region on Monday.

In May, Kushner and Greenblatt both accompanied the President on his visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to discuss a peace agreement.

Since then, conversations have been ongoing, the White House official said. To build on that trip, Kushner and Greenblatt will return to Jerusalem and Ramallah for meetings to discuss priorities and potential next steps with Netanyahu and his senior advisers as well as Abbas and his senior advisers, the official said.

Kushner’s broad role

Kushner, the 36-year-old commercial real estate magnate whose marriage to Trump’s eldest daughter has thrust the otherwise inexperienced diplomat into the center of US foreign relations, now wields a hefty foreign affairs portfolio in the Trump administration.

He has compiled a globe-spanning itinerary including North America, the Middle East and China.

In April, Kushner traveled to Iraq aboard a military aircraft as part of his broad portfolio of foreign affairs in the Trump presidency.

Kushner’s expansive responsibilities don’t end at foreign affairs. He is tasked with leading a presidential office on reshaping the federal bureaucracy, discussing criminal justice reform, improving the Department of Veterans Affairs and tackling the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic.

Kushner’s involvement in his father-in-law’s administration has raised questions, especially regarding his ties to Russia during the presidential transition.

In March, CNN reported Kushner had “relationship meetings” with Russia’s Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and with Russian banker Sergey Gorkov to discuss issues like sanctions. Last month, news surfaced that Kushner may have discussed creating a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin with Kislyak.

Last week, the Washington Post reported that Kushner’s business dealings are being investigated by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.