Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Thursday with a United States delegation led by President Donald Trump’s senior advisor, Jared Kushner, as the White House continues its attempt to revive the peace process with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu told the delegation, which also included Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations as well as US Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman that peace was “within reach.”
“We have a lot of things to talk about: how to advance peace, stability and security in our region – prosperity too. And I think all of them are within our reach,” Netanyahu said.
Kushner replied that Trump “is very committed to achieving a solution here that will be able to bring prosperity and peace to all people in this area, and we really appreciate the commitment of the prime minister and his team to engaging very thoughtfully and respectfully in the way that the president has asked them to do so.”
Later Thursday, Kushner and the American delegation will hold talks with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. Ahead of the visit, sources close to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) said the Palestinian leader would give the Trump administration 45 days to declare a commitment to the two-state solution, or risk a Palestinian push on the international stage to declare Palestinian statehood.
The report of a Palestinian ultimatum, published Tuesday on the al-Monitor news website, followed Abbas’ complaints on Sunday to a delegation of left-wing Israeli MKs that the Trump administration is “in chaos” and has been unresponsive to Palestinian demands vis-a-vis Israel, especially the demand that Washington force Israel back to the negotiating table.
Despite the pleasantries in Yerushalayim however, significant progress is not expected.
Commenting on the visit before the American delegation arrived, former National Security Advisor Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror said Tuesday that he did not believe any significant developments were on the cards. “I think that they are still in the process of learning. They thought that it is very simple and slowly slowly they are learning that it is very complicated. They’re still in the process of learning and this is a very important stage,” said Amidror.
“I would be very surprised if they announce something big, because you don’t announce big things when you are in the process of learning,” he added.