Kushner heading to Mideast for peace talks

A view of Qalqilya from the Israeli side of the security barrier

A view of Qalqilya from the Israeli side of the security barrier

In the Trump administration's efforts to restart direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, President Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner is making his third visit to Israel this week.

Their objective, the White House said, was "to continue conversations and hear directly from [Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and his senior advisers and [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas and his senior advisers about their priorities and potential next steps".

Trump made a personal appeal for peace during a visit to Jerusalem last month.

Israeli media reports said Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special representative for worldwide negotiations, will arrive in the region on Monday, ahead of Kushner.

Kushner and Greenblatt accompanied President Trump in his May visit to Israel where he met with both Netanyahu and Abbas.

"With determination, compromise, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal".

"Instead of working to solve the Israeli housing crisis, the government prioritises a radical minority living beyond the boundaries of the state", it said, according to the Reuters news agency. This most recent trip is to build on that trip, to discuss priorities and potential next steps with Netanyahu and Abbas as well as their senior advisers.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly voiced his eagerness to reach a peace agreement, calling it "the ultimate deal".

Greenblatt tweeted about his upcoming trip, writing: "Excited to be traveling back to Israel and the Pal".

President Trump desperately needs a win somewhere these days, as several news reports have suggested Special Counsel and Former FBI Director Mueller plans to interview key national security officials about Trump's attempts an end the investigation of his original national security adviser, Michael Flynn, over contacts he allegedly had with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak.

The White House official - who was not authorized to speak publicly about the trip - said an agreement will take time, adding that there are likely to be many more visits by Kushner and Greenblatt to the region, as they seek common ground.

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