Kushner in Middle East

The sources noted that the two U.S. officials have focused, during their encounter with Abbas, on the need to end incitement and to cut the salaries of Palestinian "detainees and deceased", who had perpetrated attacks against Israelis, instead of tackling the principle of the two-state solution.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, right, in a talk with US President's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner in Ramallah on Wednesday. Kushner traveled to the Middle East this week to encourage peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

According to a White House official, Greenblatt and Kushner are expected to visit the region multiple times in the coming months as part of the USA bid to mediate between the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

Few Israelis can contemplate dividing Jerusalem, and nearly none would entertain Palestinian demands for allowing refugees and their descendants, who now number in the millions, the right to live in Israel.

The visit is part of an effort to restart negotiations for the first time in three years.

On Wednesday evening, Kushner is scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"This is an opportunity to pursue our common goals of security, prosperity and peace", Netanyahu told Kushner in a short video released by the premier's office. "During the meeting, Kushner told President Abbas that President Trump is committed to reaching a serious peace deal".

Kushner began his meeting with Abbas by stating all the Israeli concerns, including stopping the payments, according to Hebrew media reports, angering Abbas.

Jared Kushner has a lower approval rating than President Donald Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller and former FBI Director James Comey, according to a new poll.

However, Trump's administration has since softened its stance, and the US President said after his meeting with Netanyahu and Abbas in May that they both were "ready to start negotiations", and pledged to support them, without specifying what form that support would take. Deep divisions between the sides remain, clouding the chances of significant breakthroughs.

This month marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Mideast war - a seminal event in which Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The demand also represents a powerful symbolic connection to their lands and homes they were displaced from, as many Palestinians still possess original keys to their homes that were consumed by the state of Israel 69 years ago.

For at least two decades, the goal of US-led diplomacy has been a "two-state solution", meaning an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side and at peace with Israel. Netanyahu and US National Security Adviser, Jason Greenblatt, met in Jerusalem, whose precise content was deliberately absent from the communiques.

  • Leroy Wright