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Trump envoy meets Netanyahu in Israel for 'settlement talks' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Trump envoy meets Netanyahu in Israel for 'settlement talks'

Israel is hoping to secure US leniency on settlement building [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 March, 2017

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Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets with Donald Trump's Middle East negotiator to reach understandings over settlement building and other matters.

Top US diplomat Jason Greenblatt met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday, as part of his first trip to Israel as US special representative for international negotiations.

Netanyahu's office released footage of of the pair prior to their meeting, but unveiled no further details about the discussion. 

According to Israel's Channel 2 television channel, the Israeli leader wanted to reach understandings over settlement building to please hardliners in his party.

Greenblatt's visit to the Middle East comes just days after US President Donald Trump's telephone conversation with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The White House said that Trump invited Abbas to the US and assured the Palestinian Authority head of his belief in the peace process.

With US-Israel relations having soured in the last days of Barack Obama's presidency, Israeli rightwingers are hoping that the Trump administration will produce more lenient policy positions, particularly toward settlement building.

The international community mostly considers settlements to be illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel, meanwhile, says settlements along with other core issues like security should be resolved in peace talks.

Direct peace talks between Israel and Palestine have not occured since 2014.

Greenblatt, who is charged with resurrecting the Middle East peace process on behalf of the US, is set to meet Palestinian President Abbas on Tuesday.

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