Trump’s Mideast Team Meets Netanyahu Over Peace Plan

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -
(L to R) U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and Ron Dermer, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (C) at the Prime Minister’s office in Yerushalayim on Friday. (Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem)

President Donald Trump’s Mideast team met Friday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel as part of a visit with regional leaders to discuss the U.S. plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The meeting comes shortly before the Trump administration is expected to unveil its Middle East peace plan. Trump has promised to pursue the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians. But the Palestinians are shunning the Americans since Trump’s policy shift recognizing Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital and his moving the embassy there from Tel Aviv. Trump said at the time he is not taking a position on the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty that are to be determined in negotiations.

The White House issued a statement after Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, along with Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman, met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday afternoon in Yerushalayim.

“They discussed the means by which the humanitarian situation in Gaza can be alleviated, while maintaining Israel’s security. They further discussed the continued commitment of the Trump Administration and Israel to advance peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” it said. The statement gave no additional details.

Kushner has been leading efforts to broker a peace deal between the two sides. U.S. officials have said the long-awaited peace plan is near completion and should be released this summer following several postponements. The Trump team met this week with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and other regional leaders.

Netanyahu issued a statement after the hours-long meeting in which he “expressed his gratitude for President Trump’s support for Israel.”

No talks with the Palestinians are scheduled, though the Americans have left the door open to meeting with them.

Details of the plan have not been released, but Palestinians say they will get little more than a symbolic foothold in Yerushalayim.