wnol.info March 24 2018

McMaster adds muscle to Kushner's Middle East peace effort - Source Politico

March 24 2018, 08:02 | Irvin Gilbert

McMaster adds muscle to Kushner's Middle East peace effort - Source Politico

Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Ramallah protesting against the arrival of a US delegation headed by Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner ahead of his meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas Momani  AFP

Israeli news daily Haaretz reported that during the meeting with the Meretz delegation, Abbas discussed previous meetings he had with USA envoys, saying while "he heard that they support a two-state solution to the conflict and a settlement construction freeze", the officials have yet to state such demands publicly or to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He told Voice of Palestine radio that the Palestinians will insist in the meeting on their position that peace talks would not resume unless there is a complete cessation of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and that term of reference for the peace process has a specific timeline.

The White House envoy arrived with a delegation that includes Jason Greenblatt, envoy for worldwide negotiations, and Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser.

Kushner was still scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who Trump has praised as a key ally in the fight against terrorism. I have pleaded with them to say the same thing to Netanyahu, but they refrained.

The crown prince and United States officials discussed hopes for "a real and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians" as well as ways to fight terror financing, according to SPA.

The three are also expected to meet leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt during their trip to the region.

Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Abbas's Fatah party, said they would be demanding a clear commitment from Kushner and Greenblatt to an independent Palestinian state.

Earlier this month, the White House announced the Middle East trip but did not disclose when they would be traveling.

"I don't understand their conduct towards us, as inside his country the administration is in chaos", Abbas reportedly added.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization's representative in Washington subsequently expressed his cynicism for any likelihood that the Trump administration will make good on its promise to secure a peace deal. "It's about time we hear it".

Bannon skipped a May White House meeting with Abbas.

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