Trump ‘Optimistic’ as Envoys Seeking Middle East Peace Return to Region

Trump feeling good about Middle East peace prospects. U.S. President Donald Trump (left) meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right). Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO)

The American envoys working to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are heading back to the region soon, and United States President Donald Trump is “optimistic.” That characterization of President Trump’s feelings on the situation came from the Twitter feed of one of the envoys, Jason Greenblatt, who said he would be joined by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy Dina Powell. “I look forward to returning to the Middle East soon with Jared Kushner & Dina Powell as we pursue peace,” tweeted Greenblatt last week.

Israel is looking ahead as well. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments to the Israeli cabinet released by his office, noted that the envoys are coming soon “in an effort to advance the peace process. Of course, we will welcome them as always.” The upcoming American visit follows the Temple Mount crisis in which Arab terrorists killed two Israeli policemen, and then Arabs protested the Israeli set up of metal detectors at the Temple Mount entrance to prevent future attacks. Israel eventually took down the metal detectors.

However, rather than shy away from talks now, Trump sees this as an “opportunity” according to The Times of Israel.

The Israeli newspaper quoted a White House official as saying last week that Trump “believes that the restoration of calm and the stabilized situation in Jerusalem after the recent crisis on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif has created an opportunity to continue discussions and the pursuit of peace that began early in his administration.”

The American envoys are expected to not only discuss peace talks, but also extremism, the Gaza humanitarian situation, regional relationships, and economic support in the region, according to the Times’ report.

Yet despite the ongoing discussions, Trump’s Administration recently was avoiding official language on exactly what a final Israel-Palestinian deal should have in it—including whether or not the two-state solution is the preferred model. Trump mentioned the idea earlier this year that he’d support a one-state solution if that’s what the sides wanted, and he isn’t recanting that now.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, in comments released by the Department last week, avoiding committing to the two-state solution while responding to a reporter’s question about Trump’s being “in favor” of the model.

“Regarding a two-state solution, the President has talked about this very clearly. He’s made this a high priority and that Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt have done a lot of travel over the region to talk about these types of issues, and we have long said that what—at least in this administration, that whatever solution both parties can agree to, they both have to be willing to live with and adhere to.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, August 13, 2017)

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