Kushner to head to Israel to promote peace talks

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and President Donald Trump (left) with Jared Kushner (center) at the start of their May 22 meeting in Jerusalem.

US President Donald Trump is planning to send Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and other top aides in his administration to the Middle East in order to promote peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

An American delegation including U.S. president Donald Trump's special Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, will arrive in the region in the coming weeks for another attempt at restarting peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, a White House official confirmed in a statement Friday.

A lengthy statement from the White House on Saturday said Trump is "personally committed to achieving a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians that would help usher in an era of greater regional peace and prosperity".

"He 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 that began early in his administration", the statement read.

Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell will also be part of the senior American delegation, which will hold meetings regarding the matter in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

"While the regional talks will play an important role, peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties and the United States will continue working closely with the parties to make progress towards that goal", the statement continues.

Mr. Trump, according to the senior official, has asked that the discussions focus on the path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, combatting extremism, addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and determining economic steps to ensure a peace deal offers security, stability and prosperity for the region.

In the past, Mr. Trump has described resolving decades of conflict in the Middle East as, "frankly maybe not as hard as people have thought", and said the only thing tougher than Middle East peace is reaching a health care deal in Congress.

Despite the recent crisis, President Trump has reiterated that while reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement will be hard, he "remains optimistic that peace is possible".

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