Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman Wednesday to discuss President Donald Trump’s ideas for kickstarting the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Ahead of the meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office denied reports in the Arab media that Israel agreed to “slow down” building in Yehudah and Shomron, saying that no such commitment had been made. But Trump has said he views an Israel-Palestinian agreement as “the ultimate deal,” and in March, Prime Minister Netanyahu said Israel would unilaterally limit construction in Yehudah and Shomron to settlement blocks and built-up areas of existing settlements at the request of the new administration. Two months later, settlement leaders were disappointed when the prime minister approved building permits for 2,600 housing units over the Green Line, saying they had expected a construction boom throughout the area to coincide with new policies on the subject laid down by the Trump administration.
Wednesday’s meeting follows on the heels of the Americans’ discussion Tuesday with Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat; Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj and Mohammed Mustafa, economic adviser to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). That meeting was held in Yerushalayim because the Palestinian leadership said it would not host Friedman, who’s pro-Israel views are well known, in Ramallah.