Senior US Delegation Looks into Bolstering Mideast Peace Talks

Posted August 25, 2017

The U.S. delegation planned to meet regional leaders to discuss a "path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks", a White House official said at the time.

Palestinians were still seeking a pledge of support from the Trump administration for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel - the foundation of US Middle East policy for the past two decades.

"We have a lot of things to talk about - how to advance peace, stability and security in our region, prosperity too", Netanyahu said in brief public remarks as he met Kushner in Tel Aviv.

Abbas told a delegation of Israeli lawmakers from the left-wing Meretz party during a meeting in Ramallah earlier in the week, referring to the USA leadership, "I don't even know how they are dealing with us because his entire administration is in chaos". Such a vision has always been the global consensus on what the future of the region should be: an Israeli state next to a Palestinian state.

Israel, meanwhile, has increasingly shifted its sights toward a regional deal with certain Arab countries, rather than one focusing exclusively on the Palestinians, an approach Trump has expressed support for.

The document issued in November 1917 by the then British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour said the United Kingdom government "views with favor the establishment in Palestine of" Israel.

"I do not think the American envoys are coming carrying anything - nothing at all", he told reporters. "Okay? We believe that both parties should be able to find a workable solution that works for both of them".

The Palestinian official who spoke with Al-Monitor said that although the PA's belligerent course of action could result in serious damage to its relationship with Washington, these were not empty threats and the ultimatum to the U.S. had been carefully considered.

But the Trump administration has refused to declare that as the goal of a peace process, eroding the willingness of Abbas to follow the White House's lead. Extremists on both sides have been trying to discredit the two-state vision since it was internationally adopted.

"If we don't know where we are heading, if we don't know what the end game is, then we are in a desert without a map", said Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior adviser to Abbas. "We are not going to see it happen again".

Trump also faces a range of crises in addition to controversies at home that may make it hard for him to focus on the complexities of a major Israeli-Palestinian peace push.

The kingdom is a key player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the palace said in a statement Abdullah, Kushner and Greenblatt stressed the need to start "serious and effective peace negotiations" on the "basis of the two-state solution".

Yet with all the positive talk, the Palestinian Authority continues to blame Israel and the Trump administration for the lack of progress.

"Trump's finding out he's no different from other presidents", Rynhold said. And if Trump pressures both leaders to come to the negotiating table, they may find it hard to refuse.