White House Official: Kushner Never Said Settlement Freeze Will Topple Netanyahu

Aug 28, 2017, 01:10
White House Official: Kushner Never Said Settlement Freeze Will Topple Netanyahu

Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, along with peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell, met with Abbas on August 24 as part of a trip to the region aimed at looking at trying to renew peace negotiations.

A senior White House official on Saturday told Ha'aretz that a report on Saturday in the London-based al-Hayat suggesting Presidential advisor Jared Kushner had told PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas a settlement freeze could bring down the Netanyahu government was "nonsense", insisting "this comment was never made".

"The Palestinian Authority and the U.S. delegation had a productive meeting focused on how to begin substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks", the USA and the PA said in a joint statement issued after the Ramallah talks.

Judging by the statements made after the meeting by both sides, it was had been more successful than their June meeting, which a United States source described as "tense" and "disappointing". "We know that things are hard and complicated, but there is nothing impossible with good efforts". Kushner heard out the Palestinian leader's demands and postponed any responses for the next meeting they have.

The U.S. team is in the Middle East to find a way to kick-start the peace process, which Trump has described as the "ultimate deal". "It is a legitimate right and we may make a decision on this issue soon".

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When asked if the Palestinians still place hope on the efforts of the administration and the delegates' visits to the region, Abbas' deputy answered, "You could say that we don't have any more delusions regarding the fact that their (the Americans') policies will lead to some sort of result".

"Without a vision it will be negotiations for negotiations sake", Khatib said.

Should Kushner and his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, fail to strong-arm the Israelis back in line, the Palestinians said they would "turn to an alternative plan on which they have been working for the past two years".

Prior to meeting with Abbas last week, Kushner met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, where he told the premier that Trump is "very committed" to help broker a peace deal.

Netanyahu for his part told Kushner he believed peace was "within our reach".

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