Kushner tasked with pulling off the impossible

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In the Trump Administration’s efforts to facilitate peace in the Middle East, Senior Advisor Jared Kushner plans to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.

Kushner, 36, arrived in Israel early on Wednesday and will stop there only long enough to meet with Netanyahu for a first formal discussion on peace before travelling to the Israeli-occupied West Bank to talk with Abbas.

According to U.S. officials, Kushner is not launching off a new phase in the peace process; he’s only tasked with keeping communications going between the two. Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special representative for international negotiations, joins Kushner and will stay for follow-up talks after the President’s son-in-law has departed.

Calling a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians “the ultimate deal,” President Trump has received both Netanyahu and Abbas in the White House and visited the region last month.

The strategy to achieve elusive Middle East peace is unclear, but President Trump is not banking on the “two-state solution” previous administrations have pushed. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” he has said.

The day before Kushner’s arrival, Netanyahu made the caustic announcement that a new settlement was being constructed in the controversial West Bank, which is a sticking point for Palestinians, who consider settlements built on occupied land illegal under international law.

Prior to Kushner’s meeting with Abbas, Palestinian sources said that they had been asked to draw up a list of their 12 ‘bullet point’ demands, noting that it’s been helpful to focus on core elements of this complex issue.

In their efforts not to get held back by the process, Trump administration officials have said that they’re trying to resolve “final status” issues, which include issues surrounding Palestinian refugees, water resources, border security, and control of Jerusalem.

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