Israel Relationship 'Stronger Than Ever,' Kushner Tells Netanyahu

Francis Osborne
August 25, 2017

Trump has described peace between Israelis and Palestinians as "the ultimate deal" - and added a new wrinkle last February by saying he was not fixed on two states coexisting side by side as a solution to their dispute.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now meeting with US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

TRT World spoke to Guy Ziv, Professor of International Affairs in American University in Washington DC.

DAVID MAKOVSKY: Maybe it should go like this - every step Israel takes towards the Palestinians, you Sunni states take towards Israel.

"I do not think the American envoys are coming carrying anything - nothing at all", he told reporters.

That ambiguity was reflected in the readout of Kushner's meeting with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas. A spokesman for Abbas called the meeting "important and crucial".

ESTRIN: Across the board, - former USA officials and peacemakers are saying the ultimate deal for peace, as Trump has said, they don't see it.

Kushner, Trump's chief Middle East adviser and his son-in-law, met Netanyahu in Tel Aviv earlier Thursday before travelling to Ramallah later in the day to meet with Abbas. Palestinian officials are losing patience with talks about talks.

Seven Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces after the clashes turned bloody after Friday prayer protests outside the Old city in East Jerusalem.

However, commentators were skeptical over the prospects of a significant progress.

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Trump aides have held a series of meetings with both sides, portraying them as hearing out concerns before deciding on a way forward, while the United States president himself visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in May.

In Jordan, the meeting with King Abdullah II was dedicated to "efforts to revive the peace process and relaunch serious and effective negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis based on the two-state solution as the only way to end the conflict", according to a statement issued by the Royal Jordanian Court.

Still, he has not come out in support of the two-state solution, a position supported by most of the worldwide community and also his Republican and Democratic predecessors.

Signalling their frustration, some Palestinian leaders have spoken of taking a harder line in recent days.

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.

The crisis ended after the Islamic Waqf, the body that governs the al-Aqsa compound, told Palestinians to stop the boycott of the site following Israel's decision to remove its security restrictions.

But at the same time, Majdalani said they could also unilaterally declare Palestinian statehood. Said, you want to talk about Israel?

For his part, Netanyahu faces pressure from right-wing coalition partners not to give ground on Jewish settlement building in occupied territory that Palestinians seek for a independent state.

Netanyahu, facing a graft investigation, is "fighting for his political life" and relying heavily on support from his right-wing base, which strongly opposes any concessions to the Palestinians, said Shapiro, now a fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies think-tank in Tel Aviv.

"In the intervening months, as the political circumstances of the leaders in the region have changed and frankly deteriorated from the point of view of their flexibility, and as President Trump's own standing has taken a beating because of his domestic controversies, I believe his leverage has diminished considerably".

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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