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.
I look forward to returning to the Middle East soon with Jared Kushner & Dina Powell as we pursue peace. @POTUS is optimistic.— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) August 11, 2017
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."
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