Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will separately meet with the members of the senior White House delegation that was sent to the region by US President Donald Trump in order to renew the peace talks. The meetings will take place today in Israel and Ramallah.







Kushner and Netanyahu

Kushner and Netanyahu Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Channel 2 News

A day after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sit down Thursday with the White House delegation that was sent by US President Donald Trump. The delegation has been visiting countries in the Middle East and speaking with leaders about renewing the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell are among the delegation members.

The White House representatives have already met with leaders in Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. A White House official told Politico that the trip is supposed to “focus on the path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.” The official added that Trump believes that “the restoration of calm and the stabilized situation in Jerusalem after the recent crisis on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif has created an opportunity to continue discussions and the pursuit of peace.”







Abbas

Abbas Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Later today, the senior US officials will head to Ramallah, where they will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Ahead of the meeting, Abbas spoke with Jordanian King Abdullah II last night over the phone regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, even though Trump commented on the peace process between the two sides on many occasions since his election victory, Abbas is not optimistic about Washington’s ability to renew the negotiations.

During a meeting held in Ramallah with a delegation of Knesset members and senior-level officials from the Israeli left-wing Meretz party earlier this week, Abbas said that “there is a feeling of chaos” within Trump’s administration and that it is unclear whether Washington can focus on the peace process and reaching a diplomatic agreement.

The meetings in Israel and Ramallah will take place while most of Jerusalem’s resources are focused on thwarting the growing Iranian presence in Syria. Yesterday, Netanyahu warned Putin that Iran will attempt to send tens of thousands of soldiers to Syria and build bases in order to attack Israel.