US envoy Kushner has ‘productive’ meeting with Abbas

The US stressed that “forging peace will take time” after Kushner’s “productive” meeting with Abbas.

Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and US Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome met on Wednesday night in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas and his senior advisers to discuss the prospects of possible diplomatic negotiations with Israel.

In a statement, the White House reported that the two sides “had a productive meeting and reaffirmed their commitment to advancing President Trump’s goal of a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians that enhances stability in the region.”

Kushner and Greenblatt discussed Palestinian priorities with Abbas and potential next steps, acknowledging the need for economic opportunities for Palestinians and major investments in the Palestinian economy.

Reuters quotes Palestinian sources which said that ahead of Kushner’s meeting with Abbas, they were asked to draw up a list of 12 “bullet point” demands they would demand in any negotiations.

In its statement, the White House underscored that “forging peace will take time” and stressed the importance of “doing everything possible” to create an “environment conducive to peacemaking.”

Abbas’ spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudenieh stated that during the meeting, Abbas discussed all “final status issues.”

A senior Palestinian official divulged that a preparatory meeting with Greenblatt on Tuesday had not gone well and became tense over the issue of Palestinian payments to terrorists, AFP reported. He said the Americans “are buying” Netanyahu’s complaints about Palestinian incitement.

According to the official, the Palestinians rebuffed Greenblatt’s pressure and demanded an Israeli freeze of construction in Judea and Samaria. He said a Palestinian delegation will head to Washington next month for further talks.

The US team met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem earlier in the day.

“This is an opportunity to pursue our common goals of security, prosperity and peace,” Netanyahu said.

Kushner and Greenblatt will return to Washington, D.C. to brief President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Then they will consider their next steps.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News