US Diplomatic Team in Mideast Re-Establishing Ties With Allies


As a delegation led by White House adviser Jared Kushner arrived in the region for meetings with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, there was a glimpse of that frustration in the State Department briefing room on Wednesday.

There's no doubt that persistence in peacemaking is critical. "(U.S. Secretary of State Rex) Tillerson has invited contempt before by doing unjustifiable things, but perhaps they are learning a lesson". "Passing the law is a clear act of applying sovereignty and thereby it is an act of illegal annexation". Also, the team will examine economic steps ahead of a potential peace deal.

Lunch will be served after the seminar.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told journalists on Tuesday that the chances of a breakthrough are slim, with Netanyahu being under at least two criminal investigations over corruption allegations, Abbas involved with internal fights with Hamas, and Trump expanding forces in Afghanistan and involved with internal battles with the congress. According to data published by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, there has been a 70% increase in construction starts in West Bank settlements between April 2016 and March 2017 compared to the parallel period the year before. His government, his base are very much against creating a Palestinian state.

Björn Brenner is a lecturer at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm and a visiting fellow at Institut français du Proche-Orient in Amman, Jordan. Netanyahu's ostentatious public embrace of an Israeli embassy security officer, who shot dead two Jordanian civilians after one of them allegedly stabbed him with a screwdriver, deeply embarrassed Jordan's King Abdullah and angered Jordanians.

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Indeed, Trump has neither endorsed nor rejected the two-state solution - the mainstay of his three predecessors' approach to the peace process.

The Palestinian president has said he would pressure Kushner to have the White House reaffirm commitment to the two-state solution.

The last round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians reached an impasse in 2014, mainly over Israel's expansion of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Coates remained home, offering support to the traveling team and managing the information flow. With Israel, "we are trying to achieve peace with international legitimacy, with the Arab initiative and with agreements that have already been signed: the solution is that of two states, Israel and Palestine, near each other in security". He thus is unlikely to make concessions to the Palestinians or crack down on settlement expansion, limiting his ability to maneuver in negotiations.

In an interview, Coates gave most of the credit to Greenblatt for the successful de-escalation. One Arab analyst speculated - somewhat fantastically - that the Saudis might host such a happening in Jeddah. He is also clearly emboldened by the American media's treatment of the president, and the pervasive belief among Democrats and some Republicans that Trump will not be in office long. As 24-years of failed American mediation in this conflict shows there is nothing that "both parties" like. "At the same time the administration recognizes that past demands for a settlement freeze have not helped advance peace talks". And as part of the President's family, Kushner is no ordinary envoy. Mohammed Ishtayeh, a confidant of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, says this will be the 14th meeting between the Trump administration and Palestinian leadership.

Abbas is coming to the end of his reign.