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Kushner arrives to try for Israeli-Palestinian breakthrough


Jared Kushner, senior presidential adviser and Trump's chief Middle East negotiator, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday, along with the us administration's global negotiator Jason Greenblatt.

Kushner travelled to Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, for two hours of talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after iftar, the evening meal that breaks the daily Ramadan fast. Kushner and Greenblatt both accompanied the president on his May 22-23 visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, discussing a peace agreement's potential far-reaching impact in the region, the White House official said. In its statement on the Abbas meeting, the White House said that both "United States officials and Palestinian leadership underscored that forging peace will take time and stressed the importance of doing everything possible to create an environment conducive to peacemaking". Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel had broken ground on its first new settlement in two decades in the West Bank.

Immediately after he arrived in Israel on Wednesday, Kushner visited the family of Staff Sgt. Maj.

Over 600,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The Palestinians were "disappointed" by the results of their meeting with USA envoys to the Middle East Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, Haaretz reported Friday. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement that the administration didn't have an official position on settlements; it believed they were "not helpful" in achieving peace but weren't an "impediment to peace".

Kushner was joined by US Ambassador David Friedman on the visit.

According to USA officials, the visit comes as part of Washington's ongoing efforts to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace processes.

But the timing of Kushner's visit isn't ideal: On Friday, an Israeli border police officer was stabbed to death by a Palestinian attacker.

But it remains unclear what approach Mr Trump, via Mr Kushner and Mr Greenblatt, plans to take on resolving one of the world's most intractable conflicts. That initiative also alluded to a "right of return" to Israel for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, a demand rejected across the Israeli political spectrum. Kushner told the family that "the president himself asked him to express condolences on behalf of the United States".

The group added, "Palestinian residents are being increasingly dispossessed of their lands, roots and livelihood, to be replaced by Israeli control either by direct official action or by the settlers acting as its envoys".