The sentence came at the end of a list of White House talking points regarding the surprising departure of Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s former top Middle East peace negotiator: “Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook will take on an increased role on the team.”

For Middle East tea-leaf readers, Hook was the more immediately interesting story. He’s the lead State Department official on Iran, and his joining the peace-brokering team suggests that the Trump administration sees containing Iran and forging peace between Israel and the Palestinians and other Arab states as of a piece.

But Berkowitz’s elevation tells an even more Trumpian story: one of elevating those who are close to the family, as opposed to Washington insiders, and of a Middle East peace team that has made Israel’s interests paramount in its strategies.

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