Trump team faces tough audiences as it sells Mideast plan

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JERUSALEM (AP) – President Donald Trump’s top Mideast advisers face skeptical audiences as they visit several locations in the region and in Europe to rally support for their “economy-first” plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The White House is promoting a meeting in Bahrain next month as the first phase of its long-awaited Mideast peace plan, which envisions large-scale investment and infrastructure work, much of it funded by wealthy Arab countries, in the Palestinian territories.

But American officials say the Bahrain conference will not include the core political issues of the conflict: borders of a Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees or Israeli security demands.

The Palestinians will not attend the Bahrain meeting, rejecting the parameters of the conference, while key American allies Egypt and Jordan have not announced their plans for participation.

FILE – In this May 18, 2018 file photo, White House adviser Jared Kushner speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington. There is little enthusiasm among U.S. allies for Kushner’s planned Mideast conference at the end of June, 2019. The conference, presented as phase one of his long-awaited plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, has put pro-Western countries like Jordan and the Saudi Arabia in a difficult position. They can’t afford to snub an invitation from their American benefactors but are wary of endorsing a plan that does not include Palestinian independence. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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