Senior US delegation in Israel trying to revive peace talks

Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon

The opinions expressed in this commentary are his alone. After a reporter cited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's confusion about U.S. goals and asked, "Why are you so loath to... to recommit yourself to the two-state solution?"

The purpose of Kushner's trip, according to a White House official, is to "focus on the path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, combating extremism, the situation in Gaza, including how to ease the humanitarian crisis there", as well as to explore economic steps that could be taken leading up to any potential peace deal.

Ibrahim Fraihat is Associate Professor of International Conflict Resolution at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and Affiliate Scholar at Georgetown University in Qatar.

It was his opinion, and that of the overwhelming majority of U.N. member-states, that "there is no plan B", he said during a visit to Cairo.

"We provide backup assistance to them and attend meetings with them", said Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman.

According to Abu Rdineh, Abbas stressed on the international resolutions, the signed agreements, the roadmap and the Arab peace initiative.

A senior Palestinian source told Shlomi Eldar, a senior Palestinian affairs reporter writing for Al-Monitor, that Abbas, 82, is running out of the time and cannot waste it on "games". "They all come in thinking they'll be the ones to solve this, and then they find out how difficult it really is".

Kushner, Abbas Meeting Aimed to Launch 'Substantive Peace Talks — White House
All have ties to the controversial settler movement that builds Jewish towns in West Bank territory claimed by the Palestinians. Ahead of the meeting with Abbas, dozens of Palestinians protested in Ramallah against alleged U.S. bias in favor of Israel.

Palestinians could live with this, as they had lived before, but this time, they also lack any meaningful support from the Arab world, which is entangled in various regional conflicts - political, logistical and financial. The State of Israel came into being in 1948, and this Jewish state today holds within it empires, legacies, faiths and sanctity. This spells trouble for Ramallah's bank account, and the numbers on it are not lying. Even Thursday's schedule in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories hasn't attracted much attention, something that doesn't spell promise for the Trump administration's efforts in the region.

The sentiment behind Nauert's remarks further appeared to reflect recognition that Israel's right-wing government doesn't support the widely coveted two-state solution.

Senior Advisor Jared Kushner listens as US President Donald Trump speaks to the press on August 11, 2017, at his Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey.

Zomlot said that for the Palestinian Authority, the preferred outcome remained a recommitment to the two-state solution. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. "Given the level of disbelief and cynicism, that is the last thing that is needed". He thus is unlikely to make concessions to the Palestinians or crack down on settlement expansion, limiting his ability to maneuver in negotiations. On Thursday, they are set to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Trump advisors Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt in Tel Aviv Thursday. Still, there have been signs Trump's welcome is wearing thin. Ahead of the meeting with Abbas, dozens of Palestinians protested in Ramallah against alleged U.S. bias in favor of Israel.

Trump's unusually close relations with both Israel and the Gulf Arabs are part of this strategy. Trump administration is likely to repeat the same mistake. As we walked to the Tower of David, with its golden haloed ruins, we swooped through an exhibition of 4,000 years of Jerusalem at the Museum of History.

However, the delegation has thus far avoided committing to a two-state solution, which has been at the heart of peace efforts in recent decades.

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