Trump aides Kushner and Greenblatt to visit Israel, Palestinians this week

Donald Trump is sending his top White House adviser, son-in-law Jared Kushner to the Middle East this week to discuss possible next steps for brokering peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Jason Greenblatt, the White House special representative for global negotiations, will arrive in the region Monday, according to the official.

The goal of the trip is to push for a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, according to an unnamed White House official.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, that are seen as a major obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Kushner trip was first reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Further reports stated Kushner and Greenblatt are expected to lay down their plans for the peace agreement with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders and their senior advisers.

Mr Kushner is also said to have had at least three previously unreported interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak both during and after the 2016 campaign, and to have met with Russian banker Sergey Gorkov.

"I've always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, " Trump said when he hosted Abbas.

According to the White House, Trump has kept the US embassy in Jerusalem open in a bid to advance the prospects of a peace agreement.

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. The two will work behind the scenes to advance direct talks between the parties, the official said. Behind-the-scenes conversations have been taking place since the Trump trip, the White House official said.

Earlier this month, Trump waived a law that requiring the U.S. to move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.


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