President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE said Tuesday he may tap his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to help broker a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Trump told a group of New York Times journalists that Kushner likely wouldn't take a formal role in possible Middle East peace talks, but could nonetheless serve as a player.
Trump: Jared Kushner could help make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.— Elisabeth Bumiller (@BumillerNYT) November 22, 2016
I asked PEOTUS what role he sees Kushner playing. Indicates formal role unlikely but he could be a player on Mideast peace.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 22, 2016
“I would love to be the one who made peace with Israel and the Palestinians, that would be such a great achievement,” the president-elect said, according to the Times.
For more than a generation, a Middle East peace deal has been one of the most elusive foreign policy goals for U.S. presidents of both political parties.
In selecting Kushner, 35, to help lead the effort, Trump would be turning to someone with no experience in government or foreign relations.
But Kushner, a New Jersey native and prominent real estate developer, has played an important role in Trump’s presidential campaign and transition team.
During the presidential race, Kushner helped set up meetings with Republicans on Capitol Hill. He also led the effort to assemble Trump’s data team.
Trump’s comments are another indication that Kushner will be an influential figure in Trump’s White House, even if he does not take a formal position.
An Orthodox Jew, whose wife, Ivanka Trump, converted to Judaism before they married, Kushner and his family have ties to the Israeli government and pro-Israel groups.
Kushner and his father, who established his family’s real estate empire, donated tens of thousands of dollars to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobby group in Washington.
Kushner tried to arrange a trip to Israel for Donald Trump last year, according to Reuters. The visit, though, was scrapped after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
Trump has expressed his desire to broker a Middle East peace deal, but his words have not always been well received.
In February, the Republican ruffled the feathers of pro-Israel groups when he said he would take a “neutral” stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But since then there have been signs that tensions have died down.
Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, was spotted at Trump Tower this week, where he called the president-elect “a true friend of Israel.”