Senior Trump adviser arrives in Cairo for two-day visit

Senior Trump adviser arrives in Cairo for two-day visit

In a bid to restart a moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

"In consultation with security officials, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to open the Temple Mount to MPs' visits, for one day at this stage, on Tuesday, August 29", the member of his office said.

Israel, meanwhile, has increasingly shifted its sights toward a regional deal with certain Arab countries, rather than one focusing exclusively on the Palestinians, an approach Trump has expressed support for.

Kushner, the 36-year-old commercial real estate magnate whose marriage to Trump's eldest daughter has thrust the otherwise inexperienced diplomat into the center of United States foreign relations, now wields a hefty foreign affairs portfolio in the Trump administration.

However, Palestinian leaders have voiced criticism saying that the U.S. has not clearly committed itself to the two-state solution, which would see a Palestinian state established in the West Bank and Gaza alongside Israel.

Kushner said the U.S. -Israel relationship "is stronger than ever".

Kushner meanwhile said that "President Trump is very optimistic and hopes for a better future for the Palestinian people and the Israeli people". I have pleaded with them to say the same thing to Netanyahu, but they refrained. Specifically, they are seeking a halt in Israeli settlement construction on occupied lands, and an American commitment to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state as part of a peace deal with Israel.

There are, however, new holdups on both sides.

Turkey and Jordan urged "serious and effective" talks between Palestine and Israel to end the long-running conflict, according to a joint statement issued by the country's two leaders.

"Renewed U.S. engagement with our Middle East allies is welcome and badly needed", said Josh Block, president and CEO of The Israel Project, a nonpartisan educational organization.

Disappointed Palestinian officials privately gripe that Trump's team has begun to support Israeli positions and ignore their concerns.

In Tel Aviv and Ramallah, Kushner is encountering two leaders seemingly unable and unwilling to make concessions that are necessary for any real progress.

They have also held talks with Egyptian, Saudi, Emirati, Qatari and Jordanian officials. He accompanied Trump to Jerusalem during the president's first foreign trip in May, and then he traveled to Israel for a 24-hour visit with Greenblatt in June.

Nevertheless, Kushner's third official visit to the region is an indication of Trump's interest in achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Abbas added: "I can't understand how they are conducting themselves with us", according to Haaretz.

"So I am happy to see you and the effort you're leading on behalf of the [US] President [Donald Trump] with Jason [Greenblatt] and other members of your team", the prime minister said.



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