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Jared Kushner. Photo: Getty Images

President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner and White House envoy Avi Berkowitz are expected to travel to the Middle East and visit Israel along with several Gulf states during the first week of September to check on the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Israeli and Arab officials tell me.

The state of play: Kushner and his delegation are expected to congratulate leadership in Israel and the UAE on the normalization deal and get updates on progress of the talks between the countries regarding possible agreements they may want to sign.

  • Kushner will also use his talks with leaders in the region to encourage more Arab countries to follow in the UAE's footsteps and move forward with full normalization of relations with Israel, officials briefed on the planned visit tell me. 

National security adviser Robert O'Brien and the State Department's special envoy for Iran Brian Hook are also expected to join Kushner on the trip.

  • Other than a visit to Jerusalem, Kushner and Berkowitz will visit the UAE. The U.S. delegation is likely to visit Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman as well.

What they're saying: President Trump said several days ago that he hopes Saudi Arabia will also move toward normalization with Israel. U.S. officials think it might be possible for Bahrain and Oman to take such steps in the weeks and months ahead.

  • The White House declined to comment.

What's next: Trump wants to a have a signing ceremony at the Rose Garden in September for the Israel-UAE deal with leaders from both countries.

Even if other Gulf states don't announce normalization with Israel until then, the White House may invite representatives from other Arab states to attend the ceremony and show their support for the deal.

Israeli and Arab officials tell me the drafting of agreements in different fields between Israel and the UAE will take more time.

  • Both countries have put together interagency teams to start the internal work of preparing a range of agreements. Israeli officials believe a meeting between the teams will not take place before the first week of September.

Go deeper

Nov 25, 2020 - World

Palestinians prepare charm offensive for Biden

Abbas and Biden in Ramallah in 2010. Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Palestinian leaders are considering several initiatives that they hope will encourage strong relations with the incoming administration and make it easier for Biden to roll back Trump's policies.

Why it matters: After four years of deep crisis in U.S.-Palestinian relations, President Mahmoud Abbas desperately needs to rebuild his standing in Washington.

Omicron cases confirmed in 4 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant were detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday, making New York the fourth state with confirmed cases.

The latest: In addition to New York, the variant has been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Early winter heat shatters records in U.S., Canada

Temperature departures from average on Dec. 2, 2021, as depicted by the GFS computer model. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread and intense heatwave is roasting large portions of the U.S. and Canada, shattering daily and monthly temperature records.

Why it matters: Winter is the fastest-warming season across the U.S., and the lingering warmth is shortening the snow season in places like Colorado and Montana, where mountain snowpack is a critical source of water during the summer months.

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