Palestinians appreciate US peace efforts as Netanyahu says peace is “within our reach”

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The White House delegation concluded its visit to the region yesterday after meeting Israel’s Prime Minister and the Palestinian Authority President in a bid to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Jared Kushner, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the morning before meeting PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Netanyahu told Kushner that he believes peace with the Palestinians is “within our reach”. He thanked Kushner for “the effort you’re leading on behalf of President  Trump, with Jason [Greenblatt] and other members of your team”. Kushner told Netanyahu that Trump is “very committed” to help broker a peace deal and thanked the Prime Minister for working with the White House towards that goal.

Netanyahu said the meeting was helpful and meaningful, and they “discussed ways to promote peace and prosperity in the region”. Netanyahu expects the talks to continue in the coming weeks.

Kushner and his team then travelled to the Palestinian city of Ramallah. The PA told reporters that it “highly appreciates” the Trump administration’s efforts to renew the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Officials said that they “know that things are difficult and complicated, but that nothing is impossible in light of the sincere efforts of the Americans”.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad Malki told Voice of Palestine radio that the US delegation was expected to bring answers to questions posed by the Palestinian leadership in previous meetings, especially regarding the position of the US towards the two-state solution and the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

He said those answers will clarify “if there is a historic opportunity that would allow for the continuation of a peace process that is going to lead to an end to the Israeli occupation, or if all these visits are just a waste of time”.

Prior to meeting the US delegation, Abbas reportedly spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, both of whom met the US delegation earlier in the week.

There were Palestinian protests on the streets of Ramallah against the US visit. Palestinian officials have accused Kushner of being biased towards Israel after his handling of the Temple Mount crisis in July as well as the US request that the PA cease of payments to convicted terrorists and their families.