Palestinian president meets Trump aide in Ramallah

15 March, 2017, 00:45 | Author: Warren Cooper
  • Trump envoy meets Netanyahu in Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump's long-time advisor Jason Greenblatt met for five hours on Monday to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israel's construction plans in Judea and Samaria.

He followed up Tuesday with a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The two also mentioned a joint commitment "to combat violence and terrorism", and President Abbas "assured Mr. Greenblatt that he is fully committed to creating an atmosphere that is conducive to making peace and would heighten his outreach efforts to the Israeli public".

In an apparent reference to efforts to come up with guidelines with the U.S. to govern future settlement construction, Netanyahu said, "I can't tell you we reached an agreement, but i think we heard each other out in a serious and friendly way and I think we will probably conclude this effort".

Tuesday's statement said Abbas had told Greenblatt he believed that under Trump's leadership "a historic peace deal was possible". The contact came nearly a month after Netanyahu was warmly received by the president in Washington after years of friction with the Obama administration.

USA officials have described the visit by Greenblatt, Trump's special representative for worldwide negotiations, as a fact-finding mission as the White House seeks a way forward in restarting long-deadlocked peace efforts.

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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.

Trump altered US policy at a White House press conference with Netanyahu last month by indicating that Palestinian statehood wouldn't necessarily be the outcome of peace talks.

"Netanyahu stuck to his promise to establish the new settlement", the senior official said.

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.

Nonetheless, the Palestinians remain concerned at the apparently pro-Israel position adopted by the Trump administration, which has controversially pledged to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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