US Diplomatic Team in Mideast Re-Establishing Ties With Allies


Trump envoy Jared Kushner and a US diplomatic delegation met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after stops in Jordan, Egypt and the Persian Gulf, and were scheduled to hold talks later Thursday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

Kushner met the Palestinian leader in Ramallah hours after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel, meanwhile, has increasingly shifted its sights toward a regional deal with certain Arab countries, rather than one focusing exclusively on the Palestinians, an approach Trump has expressed support for.

"We confirm that this delegation is working for peace, and we are working with him to arrive soon at what President Trump called a peace deal", said Abbas.

Kushner, a 36-year-old real estate developer with little experience of global diplomacy or political negotiation, arrived in Israel with US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt on Wednesday after meeting His Majesty King Abdullah and other Arab leaders in the Gulf and Egypt.

Trump's domestic troubles, including his response to demonstrations by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, have weakened his ability to demand compromise from Israelis and Palestinians, said Jonathan Rynhold, a researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

But Palestinian leaders note that the White House has not even said clearly whether its focus will be a two-state solution to the conflict, which has been longstanding U.S. policy.

His platform played down the significance of Israeli settlements and he surrounded himself with a group of advisers with deep ties to the settlement movement, including Kushner and the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

"I do not think the American envoys are coming carrying anything - nothing at all", he told reporters. "Every time they repeatedly stressed to me how much they believe and are committed to a two-state solution and a halt to construction in the settlements".

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White House adviser Jared Kushner on Thursday kicked off a renewed push by the Trump administration to restart Mideast peace talks amid signs of growing Palestinian impatience with a lack of progress so far.

They have also held talks with Egyptian, Saudi, Emirati, Qatari and Jordanian officials.

Netanyahu instructed police in October 2015 to bar lawmakers from visiting the site in the Old City of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, which houses the al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

There are, however, new holdups on both sides. "And that will make any possible concessions to the Palestinians very hard, unless the administration can produce meaningful public Arab outreach toward Israel". "So we leave it up to them to be able to work that through".

The three men were then chased inside the compound before they were shot and killed.

In his first visit to the region, Trump, together with Kushner and other members of the administration, visited the Gulf states and Israel.

"I'm very pleased to see you again, Jared", he said.

"We have a lot of things to talk about: how to advance peace, stability, security and prosperity in the region and I think all are within reach", said Mr Netanyahu, whose government has markedly stepped up settlement activity in the occupied West Bank since the Trump administration entered office.