Kushner to travel to Middle East to pursue peace deal

Education Minister Naftali Bennett arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister office in Jerusalem

Education Minister Naftali Bennett arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister office in Jerusalem

Greenblatt who is the administration's Israeli-Palestinian negotiator will travel to the region on Monday. Appearing at a press conference with Mr Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Mr Trump declared that the Palestinians are "ready to reach for peace".

The trip comes as Kushner was said to be considering hiring criminal defense lawyers to represent him in a widening federal probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah follow Mr Trump's discussions in May with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Last week, the Washington Post reported that Kushner's business dealings are being investigated by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

In April, Kushner traveled to Iraq aboard a military aircraft, as part of his broad portfolio of foreign affairs in the Trump presidency.

Israeli and Saudi Arabian leadership, on the other hand, have thrown cold water on the prospect of a swift public rapprochement between their two nations- an initiative that has excited Trump, as with presidents past- that would then somehow lead to an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Netanyahu has been under pressure by his ultra-nationalist coalition partner, the Jewish Home party, to step up the expansion of the settlements since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. In May, Kushner joined Trump, along with his wife Ivanka, on Trump's first official overseas visit to Israel.

"Our strategic and sole option is to achieve the two-state solution, the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital to live side by side in peace, safety and stability together with the state of Israel along 1967 borders", he said. Trump made a decision to delay fulfilling a campaign promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem in an attempt to advance the prospects of a peace agreement, the White House said earlier this month. Behind-the-scenes conversations have been taking place since the Trump trip, the White House official said. "Let's see if we can prove them wrong, OK?"

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