Netanyahu welcomes US peace efforts, Palestinians reject them

“Of course, we will welcome them as always,” Netanyahu said of the envoys Trump is sending to the region to advance the diplomatic process.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed President Donald Trump’s efforts to revive the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Speaking at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu remarked that Trump is again sending his representatives, his son-in-law and special advisor Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s international negotiations representative, for talks in the Middle East.

Netanyahu called Kushner and Greenblatt’s visit “an effort to advance the peace process. Of course, we will welcome them as always.”

The White House announced over the weekend that Kushner, Greenblatt and Dina Powell, the US deputy national security advisor for strategy, will be traveling to the region in the coming days to meet with leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Kushner and Greenblatt have visited Israel and the PA several times in the past months in an attempt to restart the diplomatic process, which has been dormant since 2014.

While Israel welcomed the US’ peace efforts, the PA said it was “pessimistic” about the US’ ability to reignite the peace process, and threatened to resume unilateral initiatives in the international arena.

Arab media on Wednesday quoted several Palestinian officials, including chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, as saying the current US efforts are “redundant” because the Palestinians “have lost confidence in the Americans as objective mediators.”

Moreover, the Palestinians claim both American and Israeli officials have essentially agreed that a peace process based on a two-state solution “no longer exists.”

A senior official in Abbas’s office said the Palestinian leader is “deeply disappointed” with Washington’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding that the overall sentiment in Ramallah is that Trump’s Middle East envoys favor Israel over the Palestinians.

The PA plans to resume its appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICC) in The Hague, alleging that senior Israeli leaders and military officers have committed war crimes, the Palestinian official said, adding that the PA will unilaterally pursue admission into more international organizations—a process Abbas had suspended when Trump was elected U.S. president.

Pledging that the PA will wage a “diplomatic intifada” against Israel, the official said the Palestinians are determined to “isolate Israel.”

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By: World Israel News Staff contributed to this report.