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Trump to Send Delegation to Israel

Palestinian Authority and Arab States in New Peace Push

The delegation, headed by Jared Kushner, is expected to arrive in Israel in the last week of August and will also travel to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt

President Donald Trump is preparing to send a delegation of senior officials to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and several Arab states in an effort to renew the peace process.

According to a senior Israeli official, the delegation is evidently expected to arrive in the last week of August.

A senior White House official said that the delegation will be headed by Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who will be joined by the president's envoy to the peace process Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell.

The official said Trump is still committed to advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and believes that following the diffusion of the Temple Mount crisis a new opportunity has emerged to continue the efforts the president had started shortly after taking office.

"President Trump has previously noted that achieving an enduring Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement will be difficult but he remains optimistic that peace is possible," he said. "To enhance the chances for peace, all parties need to engage in creating an environment conducive to peace-making while affording the negotiators and facilitators the time and space they need to reach a deal."  The official added that over the past few weeks Trump has held discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian issue with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Greenblatt.

Following the discussions, he decided to dispatch a delegation to the Middle East to hold talks with Israel and the Palestinians as well as senior officials in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt.

"The president has asked that these discussions focus on the path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, combatting extremism, the situation in Gaza, including how to ease the humanitarian crisis there, strengthening our relations with regional partners and the economic steps that can be taken both now and after a peace deal is signed to ensure security, stability and prosperity for the region," the official said. 

"While the regional talks will play an important role, the president reaffirms that peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties and that the United States will continue working closely with the parties to make progress towards that goal."  

Barak Ravid

Haaretz CorrespondentSchermata 2017 08 11 alle 21.22

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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