Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Kushner heading to Mideast for peace talks

Jared Kushner arrives in Israel, visits family of slain officer Kushner heading to Mideast for peace talks
Sammy Stanley | 29 June, 2017, 08:54

US President Donald Trump is seeking to restart peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians - stalled since talks collapsed in 2014.

Greenblatt arrived in Israel on Monday for preliminary discussions in both Jerusalem and Ramallah, and will remain for follow-up talks after Kushner has departed, officials said.

Israel is moving forward with plans for almost 4,000 housing units and has issued 2,000 tenders for settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, he added.

On Tuesday, hours before Kushner's arrival, Netanyahu announced the beginning of work on a new settlement in the West Bank, and has talked of thousands more settlement homes, ramping up a policy that has always been a major obstacle to peace.

Last week, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet gave the state-owned IEC the green light to implement the reduction, saying that Israel would not cover the shortfall in PA payments. Tuesday's ground-clearing work for the settlement to be called Amichai was in preparation for the installation of mobile homes to house about 300 settlers evicted from Amona.

Construction begins just a day before a delegation of Trump Administration officials are headed to Israel and the West Bank to talk with officials in an attempt to kickstart the peace process.

Trump says US-India relationship never better
The US is also set to approve a $2 billion sale of unarmed drones to help in surveillance of the Indian Ocean. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump after their one-on-one meeting.

The Palestinians and the global community consider the settlements obstacles to Palestinian statehood.

More than 600,000 Israeli settlers now live in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, alongside some 2.9 million Palestinians, which critics say makes a two-state agreement highly unlikely.

In Israel last month, Trump was silent on settlements, at least publicly.

Greenblatt is to be joined by Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday.

The worldwide community considers all Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal but Israel draws a distinction between those it sanctions and those it does not - so-called outposts.

While Israel has continued to expand existing settlement blocs, no new settlements have been built since the 1993 Oslo peace accords, which were meant to lay the framework for a future two-state solution. Israel also cites biblical, historical and security interests to defend settlements.

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