Top Trump advisor Kushner met Netanyahu, Abbas in peace push

Posted June 26, 2017

US President Donald Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner held "productive" meetings with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday, the White House said.

A report in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz indicates that despite Washington's positive statement regarding a meeting between U.S. envoys and Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas this week, there was indeed tension as well as profound disappointment on the part of the Ramallah government.

American sources quoted in the report told a different story.

Kushner, accompanied by Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, is expected to also meet Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas later the same day in the West Bank before flying out.

He is reported to be flying out of Israel shortly after midnight Thursday.

Another issue discussed in the meeting was the subject of incitement by the Palestinian Authority, as one of the demands brought forward by Israel was that the PA stops paying salaries to terrorists' families.

He also went on to question the legitimacy of Palestinian citizens of Israel being part of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, noting that the Joint List political bloc - representing parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset - refused to acquiesce to Zionist ideologies.

"This is the way Netanyahu is meeting Trump's envoys", said Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian official.

"They began by presenting Netanyahu's claims", the source said.

The sources noted that the two U.S. officials have focused, during their encounter with Abbas, on the need to end incitement and to cut the salaries of Palestinian "detainees and deceased", who had perpetrated attacks against Israelis, instead of tackling the principle of the two-state solution.

The U.S. Embassy said the visit was private and gave no further details. The committee met every two months until the outbreak of the Second Intifada in September 2000.

Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt's efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations could encourage Israel to "take risks for peace", if the USA shows strong support for Israel, Abraham Foxman, national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, told The Algemeiner.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu accused Abbas of lying that he wants peace and "poisoning" the minds of young Palestinians, amid a resurgent efforts at peacemaking by the US. However, the Palestinian president received no promises in this regard. Kushner's family has a long relationship with Netanyahu. The meetings are aimed at laying the groundwork for a resumption of negotiations for the first time in three years. Kushner's father donated to Israeli causes and even invited Netanyahu to his home in New Jersey when Jared was in high school.