April 30, 2017

Netanyahu, Greenblatt Meet Again to Discuss Security of Israel, Lasting Peace

18 March 2017, 01:29 | Clarence Schmidt

Netanyahu, Greenblatt Meet Again to Discuss Security of Israel, Lasting Peace

Greenblatt and Netanyahu

Greenblatt arrived in the region earlier this week for a days-long visit, during which he met with Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II. "Agreed-upon for us, of course, not just for the American side", Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Thursday.

Israeli settlement expansion has been the subject of harsh global criticism, with many warning it is gradually eating away at prospects for a two-state solution, the basis of years of negotiations.

Netanyahu was scheduled to meet Thursday, for the second time this week, with Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump's adviser on worldwide relations, who has been touring Israel and the Palestinian areas since Monday to gauge attitudes to peacemaking.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen since 2014 and settlements are one of the most heated issues.

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Also ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu announced his intention to honor his commitment to "building a new community" for the evacuees from the Jewish outpost settlement of Amona.

The Israeli leader made the remarks hours before meeting with Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy. "Those discussions are continuing between the White House and the Prime Minister's Office", it adds.

Netanyahu said the discussion focused on "advancing a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians that strengthens the security of Israel". Some 385,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank which is also home to 2.8 million Palestinians. Israel's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, was present for most of the meeting, and the most significant part of the conversation dealt with the attempt to formulate understandings on construction in the settlements.

One of the criticisms Palestinians have made of Trump is that he is too pro-Israel, especially with his promise during the campaign to move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and his soft-pedalling on Israeli settlement-building. His meeting with Netanyahu will be their second this week. However, Israel disagrees with Palestine, citing historical and political links to the land, as well as security interests.

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