For the first time since taking on the job, Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump's envoy on the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, will be arriving in Israel Monday morning. Senior Israeli and American officials noted that the aim of Greenblatt's visit is to begin studying the positions of the Israeli and Palestinian sides in greater detail against the backdrop of the diplomatic stalemate of the past several years.
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Greenblatt is also to speak with Israeli officials about coming to an understanding related to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.
Greenblatt will be getting together Monday with President Reuven Rivlin and will then meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador in Washington. Dermer is responsible on Netanyahu's behalf for arriving at an understanding with the Trump administration regarding settlement construction.
On Tuesday, Greenblatt will go to the West Bank city of Ramallah, where he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials. Greenblatt will be meeting on Thursday with the leader of the opposition leader in the Knesset, Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union).
Accompanying Greenblatt on his trip is Yael Lempert, who held the Israel portfolio for the National Security Council at the White House during the Obama administration and has remained in the position under President Trump.
Greenblatt's visit to the region comes just days after Trump spoke by phone with Abbas in a call in which the American president invited the Palestinian leader to meet at the White House. In the course of the call, Trump said he believes that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, the White House said, and that the time had come to come to an agreement. Trump noted that such a deal would not only give Israelis and Palestinians the peace and security that they deserve, but also bring about positive changes in the region and the rest of the world.
A White House statement noted that Trump told Abbas that a peace agreement should be reached by direct negotiations between the parties and that the United States is interested in working with the two sides to achieve that goal. Trump told Abbas that he does not believe that the United States needs to force a solution on the parties and would oppose one side seeking to force a solution on the other.