Kushner-led Mideast-Peace Plan Faces Growing Difficulty Even Before Arrival

Trump administration blueprint remains in its nascent stages ahead of Netanyahu’s second White House visit

.. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other officials have said the plan is almost finished and that it will be up to President Donald Trump to decide when to present it.

.. Several former officials who worked on the Middle East process said a top-secret clearance is needed for high-level meetings at the White House as well as to review intelligence related to negotiations. But Trump administration officials said Mr. Kushner still will work on the issue, and other former officials said leaders in the region value Mr. Kushner’s closeness to his father-in-law.

.. “He doesn’t need a security clearance to do what they’re going to do, which is basically identify in rather detailed form U.S. positions on all of the major issues as a possible basis for negotiations,” said Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. negotiator on Middle East peace.

But a series of Trump recent administration moves have been seen as favoring Israel by Europeans, Palestinians and their supporters. These

  • moves include a cut to funds to the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency,
  • a restriction on the Palestine Liberation Organization’s activities in Washington,
  • a formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and
  • the announcement of plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

.. Palestinian officials have denounced the decisions and have called openly for a new approach to peace talks that is not led by the U.S.

.. Mr. Shapiro said one way to handle the peace plan would be to roll it out in tandem with the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem, as a show that the Israelis, too, will have to make concessions as part of the negotiations.

..  More than the peace plan, Mr. Netanyahu is interested in raising concerns about Iran’s behavior in Syria and the Iranian nuclear deal, American and Israeli officials said.