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Jared Kushner heads to Jerusalem and Ramallah to talk peace

20 June 2017
Jared Kushner heads to Jerusalem and Ramallah to talk peace

US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner will travel this week to Israel and the West Bank to meet with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) to try to restart peace talks in the region. Greenblatt is arriving on Monday, and Kushner on Wednesday.

Soon after Trump's visit to the Middle East, Kushner's role as White House adviser was questioned after it was revealed that his meetings with Russian officials were included in the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of possible Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

The White House's special representative for worldwide negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, is set to arrive in the Middle East ahead of Kushner, according to the official.

"I've always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, " Trump said last month as he met Abbas in the White House.

Commenting on the new figures, Peace Now, an Israeli settlement watchdog, said in a statement that such construction "distances (Israel) from the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a two-state solution". "It's not easy. America stands ready to assist in every way we can".

According to the anonymous official, Kushner and Greenblatt plan to "continue conversations" with both sides, but any notion of an actual peace accord would require much more discussions.

It serves as a follow-up to the president's visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem in May, when he called on Israelis and Palestinians to pursue a peace deal.

Greenblatt tweeted on Sunday night: "Excited to be traveling back to Israel and the Pal".

"Hashem will give strength unto His people; Hashem will bless his people with peace".

Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian leader involved in peace talks both with Israelis and internally, said Palestinians were skeptical of Kushner and Trump's team generally, as they saw the duo was close only to the Israeli side.