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The New Arab

Trump to send envoys to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

Kushner was appointed to restart Israel-Palestine negotiations, which have been frozen since 2014. [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 August, 2017

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US President Donald Trump will send Jared Kushner and top envoy Jason Greenblatt to the Middle East soon to discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a White House official said.

US President Donald Trump will send his son-in-law Jared Kushner and top envoy Jason Greenblatt to the Middle East soon to discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a White House official said on Friday.

Deputy national security advisor Dina Powell will also be on the trip, which will include meetings with leaders from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt.

"While the regional talks will play an important role, the president reaffirms that peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties and that the United States will continue working closely with the parties to make progress towards that goal," a White House official said, according to Reuters.

The regional meetings will focus on a path to "substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks", fighting "extremism", easing Gaza's humanitarian crisis, and identifying economic steps which could help ensure security and stability, the US official said.

The trip comes after a serious crisis last month sparked by Israel's installation of metal detectors at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

In addition to deadly clashes, tensions at al-Aqsa sparked a diplomatic crisis with Jordan, the official custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

In February, Trump appeared to break with decades of US policy on the two-state solution to the conflict, saying: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like".

Kushner, son in law to Donald Trump and a 36-year-old real estate developer with little experience of international diplomacy, was appointed to restart negotiations between the two sides, which have been frozen since talks collapsed in 2014.

Trump has repeatedly referred to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the "ultimate deal", but so far Kushner has made little progress in brokering anything substantial.

Last week in a leaked speech to a group of congressional interns, Kushner said the Trump administration does not offer anything "unique" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, questioning whether it is solvable at all.

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