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Trump Aide Kushner Renews Push for Mideast Peace


FILE - White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is seen at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Aug. 11, 2017. As part of the Trump administrations's Middle East peace efforts, Kushner met in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday.

White House aide Jared Kushner renewed talks Thursday on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the Trump administration tries to re-start a peace deal between the two increasingly impatient sides.

Kushner began the renewed effort by meeting with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and is scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

“The president is very committed to achieving a solution here that will be able to bring prosperity and peace to all people in this area,” Kushner said in Jeruslaem.

Netanyahu said he and Kushner were set to talk about “how to advance peace, stability and security in our region” and he thinks “all of them are within our reach.”

Kushner is joined on the trip by Trump aide Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell. The group has also held talks with Egyptian, Saudi, Emirati, Qatari and Jordanian officials.

Trump, in the past, has said he hopes to mediate the “ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians. He has espoused staunchly pro-Israel rhetoric during his campaign and presidency, but Palestinian leaders have held out hope a deal could be reached.

Now, they are growing increasingly impatient, and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki on Thursday told the Voice of Palestine radio station the Palestinians would be seeking “clear answers” from Kushner during his visit.

“Their answers to these questions will enable us to say if we have a historical chance for a peace process that can end the occupation or these visits are no more than a waste of time,” Malki said.

Malki said he plans to ask Kushner about the U.S. position on Palestinian independence and Israeli settlements.