Israeli PM, U.S. official meet for reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-21 03:43:15|Editor: Zhou Xin
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JERUSALEM, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Israeli prime minister and a top U.S. national security aide met here on Tuesday as part of the U.S. effort to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jason Greenblatt, the U.S. aide, held a two-and-half-hour meeting, said a statement released by the prime minister's office, without elaborating on its content.

Greenblatt tweeted that he met Netanyahu and his staff "for further talks ahead of Jared Kushner's visit tomorrow."

Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Wednesday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The two arrive in the region as part of the White House's bid to reignite the stalled peace talks, which reached an impasse in 2014.

The visit also came on a day that Israel broke ground on its first new settlement, known as Amichai, in the West Bank for nearly 25 years.

Netanyahu hailed the beginning of the works. "Today, ground works began, as I promised, for the establishment of the new community for the residents of Amona," he tweeted.

Amona was an illegal outpost, built on privately-owned Palestinian land, which Israeli police evacuated in February under a court order.

"After decades, I have the privilege to be the prime minister who is building a new community in Judea and Samaria," Netanyahu tweeted. Judea and Samaria is a common Israeli term for the West Bank.

Amichai is the first settlement that Israel has built since it signed the Oslo peace agreement with the Palestinians in 1993.

The move came about four months after U.S. President Donald Trump asked Netanyahu to "hold back on settlements for a little bit" to give a chance for the White House's efforts to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war and has since been controlling them despite wide condemnation.

The settlements are illegal under international law and are seen as a major obstacle to peace sought by the Palestinians and the international community.