YERUSHALAYIM - After a three-hour meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday, U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt concluded his first round of regional diplomacy and prepared for a return trip to Washington.
There was no indication of any substantial progress in bringing the Israelis and Palestinians closer to a renewal of direct peace talks, but Greenblatt hopes that he has at least begun to lay the groundwork for it.
“We are in the midst of a process of dialogue with the White House and our intention is to reach an agreed-upon policy regarding settlement construction. Agreed upon for us, of course, not just for the American side,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting prior to seeing Greenblatt on Thursday.
“Naturally, this will be good for the state of Israel since we have not been in these processes for many years,” Netanyahu said.
Following the prime minister’s meeting with the envoy, his office released a statement describing it as “another positive discussion.”
“They also made progress on the issue of Israeli settlement construction, following up on President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s agreement in Washington last month to work out an approach that reflects both leaders’ views. Those discussions are continuing,” the statement said.
No mention was made of Netanyahu’s reiteration of his promise earlier in the day to build a new community in Yehudah and Shomron for the Amona outpost evacuees, or of Greenblatt’s reaction to it.
It was the second long meeting of the week for the two; the first, a five-hour conversation was held before Greenblatt went to Ramallah to meet with the PA leadership. He was also in Amman with the Jordanian king to seek his help in negotiations.
There was no word yet on whether prospects for a regional peace conference had developed, an idea that the White House is reportedly entertaining.