Koenig: Much of Jarred Kushner and his team’s schedule this week, especially the meetings in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were somewhat secretive. I had to review some of the Arab news websites to establish the schedule. The bottom line, Kushner’s week was almost all about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It was a serious effort on behalf of President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Hurricane Harvey is expected to come ashore in southern Texas Friday and the early hours Saturday morning and expected to produce record rain totals through the southern part of Texas and western Louisiana. We will watch this closely at our website http://watch.org.
Chronology August 20 to August 25, 2017
August 20 – White House Envoy Jared Kushner Begins Mideast peace push
Source: CBS News
The Trump White House has been relatively silent regarding the overseas trip, only confirming to CBS News that Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell had left the U.S. Sunday evening and were in "the region on Monday."
No details were provided by the White House on which country or countries they visited Tuesday or Wednesday morning after repeated inquiries by CBS News. A U.S. Secret Service official confirmed the delegation was in Qatar Monday.
August 22 – Jared Kushner meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss Israeli-Palestinian conflict
US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner has met with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in an effort to restart peace talks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Mr Kushner, who as Mr Trump’s senior presidential advisor is in charge of the administration’s efforts to broker a lasting Middle East peace deal, flew to Jeddah on Tuesday, where he held meetings with Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s newly-minted crown prince and defense minister, the Saudi state news agency said.
Negotiator Jason Greenblatt and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell also met with Prince bin Salman in Jeddah to discuss a “path to substantive path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks“, a White House official said.
The talks were aimed at achieving stability in the “wider Middle East and beyond,” Saudi state news agency SPA also said. Kuwaiti and US-led mediation efforts in the spat have so far failed.
August 22 – Kushner met with Qatar leaders focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Source: Al Jazeera
Kushner met Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, before flying to Doha for a meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Kushner's talks with Saudi and Qatari leaders focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the state news agencies of the two Gulf countries said. No mention was made of the row between Riyadh and Doha.
August 22 – Kushner group met Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces
Source: The National
On Tuesday the US party – which includes special negotiator Jason Greenblatt, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell and deputy assistant secretary of state Tim Lenderking – met Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
The UAE and US agreed to advance their shared goal of achieving genuine and lasting peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis and reaffirmed that cutting off all kinds of support for terrorists and extremists was a priority.
They said they would continue to co-ordinate on efforts in this area. The delegation has also met Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and his senior advisers
August 22: Ahead of Israel Visit, Jordan's King Tells Kushner: Two-state Solution Only Way to End Conflict
Jordanian media reported that in Amman, Kushner, Greenblatt and Powell met with King Abdullah and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi. Jordan's ambassador to the United States, Dina Kawar, also attended the meeting.
The Jordan Times wrote that "talks focused on efforts to push forward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and re-launch serious and effective negotiations between the two sides based on the two-state solution."
A statement by the Jordanian Royal Court following Tuesday's meeting emphasized that the two-state solution is "the only way to end the conflict."
Wednesday, August 23:
Jared Kushner meets with Egyptian officials to discuss Middle East peace process
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday after the United States decided to withhold millions of dollars in aid.
Kushner’s visit, part of a wider Middle East trip, had been scheduled before the U.S. aid decision was announced and had been billed as an opportunity for discussing the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Kushner, son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump and one of his close advisers, met Sisi with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry present, Sisi’s office said in a statement.
August 23 - Trump’s Team Arrives in Israel Once Again To Reignite Diplomatic Process
Source: Jerusalem Post
The team, made up of Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner, Mideast negotiator Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, will arrive after holding meetings in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt
A senior White House official said earlier this month, in announcing the US team’s trip, that Trump has clearly stated his commitment to reaching a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians that “would help usher in an era of greater regional peace and prosperity.”
According to the official, Trump feels that the restoration of calm following the Temple Mount crisis “has created an opportunity to continue discussions and the pursuit of peace that began early in his administration.”
Wednesday, August 24: Netanyahu meets Kushner as part of US peace push
Source: Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with senior White House adviser Jared Kushner on Thursday as part of a US bid to find ways to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Speaking alongside Kushner before the start of their meeting at IDF Headquarters in the Kirya compound in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said he believed peace was “within our reach.”
“We have a lot of things to talk about. How to advance peace, stability and security in our region — prosperity too — and I think all of them are within our reach,” he said.
“So I am happy to see you and the effort you’re leading on behalf of the [US] President [Donald Trump] with Jason [Greenblatt] and other members of your team,” the prime minister said. “I think this is a sign of the great alliance between us and the great goals that guide us.”
Wednesday, August 24 - Putting skepticism on hold, Abbas backs US peace push in Kushner meeting
Source: Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas set aside weeks of widespread and vocal pessimism over US peace efforts, saying that a deal with Israel is not impossible during a meeting with senior White House adviser Jared Kushner Thursday.
Meeting with Kushner and other US officials in Ramallah, Abbas expressed optimism that a deal could be reached, despite complaints from the PA in recent days over a lack of seriousness from the White House in its efforts to broker an elusive agreement.
“We know that the this issue is difficult and complex, but nothing is impossible in the face of good efforts,” Abbas said during the parley with Kushner, according to official PA news outlet Wafa.
“We affirm that this delegation is working toward peace, and we are working with it to achieve soon what Trump called the ‘peace deal’,” Abbas said.In his remarks carried by Wafa, Kushner did not mention a two-state solution and only offered vague sentiments about peace in the future.
“President Trump is very optimistic and hopes for a better future for the Palestinian people and the Israeli people,” Kushner said.
“We hope they can work together and live together for many years and have a much better life,” he added.
Hurricane Harvey Chronology
Tropical cyclone nine began in the early hours of August 17. By 5:00 pm AST, the tropical cyclone became Tropical Storm Harvey.
The storm was categorized by the National Hurricane Center as "remnants of Harvey" on Saturday, April 19 at 11:00 pm AST.
There were no public advisories on Sunday, August 20 or the following two days.
Harvey reformed and the next NHC advisory was in the early hours of Wednesday, August 23. The storm was designated Tropical Depression Harvey. By Wednesday night a 11:00 pm AST, the storm once again became Tropical Storm Harvey.
By Thursday, August 24 at 12:00 pm CDT the storm became Hurricane Harvey and by late Thursday afternoon the National Hurricane Center reported that Harvey could be the first major hurricane (Category 3 at 111 mph) to make landfall in 12 years since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
One news service headline stated on Wednesday, “Harvey comes back from the (mostly) dead to threaten Gulf Coast with a biblical flood disaster.”
For the National Hurricane Center archive of Harvey, click here: NHC
Hurricane Harvey a Catastrophic Rainfall Flood Threat; Strongest Texas Coastal Bend Landfall in at Least 47 Years Tonight
Source: Weather Channel
Hurricane Harvey continues to intensify and will be the nation's first Category 3 landfall in almost 12 years tonight or Saturday morning, poised to clobber the Texas Gulf Coast with devastating rainfall flooding, dangerous storm-surge flooding and destructive winds this weekend that could leave parts of the area uninhabitable for an extended period of time.
Harvey's central pressure has plummeted once again, another 20-plus millibars in just a few hours, as another rapid intensification phase is ongoing.
Outer rainbands are currently spiraling ashore as far north as the upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts, bringing brief heavy rain and gusty winds.
Tropical-storm-force winds have begun along the Texas coast. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Here are the latest rainfall forecasts from the NHC and NOAA's Weather Prediction Center. Keep in mind, locally higher amounts are possible where rainbands stall.
- Middle/upper Texas coast: 15 to 25 inches, with isolated totals up to 35 inches
- Deep South Texas and Texas Hill Country eastward to central and southwest Louisiana: 5 to 15 inches