Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Trump envoy

Kristopher Drake
March 15, 2017

A US envoy wrapped up his first visit to the Middle East on Tuesday with commitments from Israel and the Palestinians to advance "a genuine and lasting peace".

Greenblatt is to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday.

Greenblatt told Abbas that U.S. President Donald Trump is committed to working with both sides "to achieve a lasting peace through direct negotiations".

There seemed to be no talk of a settlement freeze, but Greenblatt did convey Trump's desire to boost the Palestinian economy, which Netanyahu wholeheartedly agreed with.

Greenblatt arrived Sunday to the region for several days visit, where he first met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for more than five hours.

One of the most heated issues between Israel and the Palestinians is the former's building of settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory the Palestinians want for their own future state along with the Gaza Strip.


The trip by Greenblatt - whose official title is Special Representative for International Negotiations - comes one week after the Trump administration had two high-level contacts with Israeli and Palestinian officials. Reviving peace talks and improving the Palestinian economy will top the agenda for the discussion between the two.

His platform made no mention of Palestinian statehood, a key goal of the USA and worldwide community for two decades. He also has left the door open to a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Abbas has met with many groups of Israelis over the past year as a part of meetings organized by the Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society, an initiative led by Fatah leader Muhammed al-Madani.

Netanyahu has argued that Palestinian incitement is a major stumbling block to the peace process and a source of violence against Israelis.

Trump spoke to Abbas on the telephone on Friday and invited him to the White House, in the first phone call between the two leaders since Trump took office. Bennett and his party have been pressuring Netanyahu to declare sovereignty over certain settlement blocs and move ahead with building a new settlement even without Trump's direct consent.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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