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May 30, 2019 11:34 am

Amid Israeli Political Tumult, Netanyahu Meets With Kushner in Jerusalem on Trump Peace Plan

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, senior White House aide Jared Kushner, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer at a meeting in Jerusalem, May 30, 2019. Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO.

Less than 24 hours after the Knesset dissolved itself, setting the stage for new national elections in September just five months after the previous ones, a high-level delegation of US officials met in Jerusalem on Thursday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the Trump administration’s yet-to-be-unveiled Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

Attendees at the sit-down included senior White House aide Jared Kushner, US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer.

The US delegation had arrived in Israel on Wednesday, after previous stops in Morocco and Jordan. In Amman on Tuesday, Jordanian King Abdullah II told the visiting Americans that lasting peace could only be achieved with the establishment of a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem.

The Trump administration is seeking to build support for an economic conference to be held in Bahrain next month that will focus on investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

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“I’m tremendously encouraged by how the United States, under President [Donald] Trump, is working to bring allies together in this region against common challenges, but also to seize common opportunities,” Netanyahu said at Thursday’s meeting.

Referring to the latest political developments in Israel, Netanyahu commented, “You know, we had a little event last night. That’s not going to stop us. We’re going to continue working together. We had a great, productive meeting, which reaffirms that the alliance between the United States of America has never been stronger, and it’s going to get even stronger.”

Kushner thanked Netanyahu for hosting the meeting, and added, “The security of Israel is something that’s critical to the relations between America and Israel, and also very important to the president, and we appreciate all your efforts to strengthen the relationship between our two countries. It’s never been stronger, and we’re very excited about all the potential that lies ahead for Israel, for the relationship, and for the future.”

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn on Thursday, Trump weighed in on Netanyahu’s unprecedented failure to form a governing coalition, saying, “It’s too bad what happened in Israel. It looked like a total win for Netanyahu, who’s a great guy. And now they’re back in the debate stage, and they’re back in the election stage. That is too bad, because they don’t need this. They have enough turmoil over there, it’s a tough place. I feel very badly about that.”

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