Trump Son-in-Law Kushner: US-Israeli Relations 'Stronger'

Israeli police gather in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al Hiran in the Negev desert

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Thursday with President Trump advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who arrived in Jerusalem to try to restart stalled peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

Donald Trump's team must commit to a two-state solution and oppose Israeli settlement construction before the USA president's peace push can move forward, Palestinian officials said Wednesday. 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 USA ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

Back in February, during PM Netanyahu's meeting to the White House, President Trump said, "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like".

"We have a lot of things to talk about, how to advance peace, stability and security in our region, prosperity too", Netanyahu said, standing alongside Kushner.

"In that situation, politically, domestically, and I would say personally, with all the problems that [Netanyahu] has back home, it's nearly impossible to create new plans and new ideas", said Yoaz Hendel, chairman of the Institute for Zionist Strategies, a conservative Israeli think tank.

One day before Kushner's meetings with Netanyahu and Abbas, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, "We are not going to state what the outcome has to be".

The meeting Thursday afternoon is part of a visit to the region by the US diplomats.

Kushner was appointed to help broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians after Trump took office. A spokesman for Abbas called the meeting "important and crucial".

Kushner meanwhile said that "President Trump is very optimistic and hopes for a better future for the Palestinian people and the Israeli people".

"The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah express strong concern about the recent confiscations of Palestinian school structures undertaken by Israel in Bedouin communities in the occupied West Bank", the missions said in a statement.

"This may create a new chance to reach a settlement based on the two-state solution and the Arab initiative and stop the current deterioration of the peace process". "That's why we will ask them whether they have answers about the basic issues".

Kushner and Greenblatt traveled to the Middle East previously this summer to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Earlier this week, officials in Ramallah told The Media Line that the PA will resume its campaign to gather unilateral indices of statehood recognition at United Nations agencies and other global fora despite the belief shared by the U.S. and Israel that such unilateral action is harmful to the quest for peace.

But since taking office, Trump decided not to move the embassy and has urged Israel to restrain settlement construction.

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