US envoy meets with both Netanyahu and Abbas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with Jason Greenblatt, Donald Trump special representative for international negotiations at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, March 13, 2017. (Photo: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

The United States special representative for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, visited the region this week to begin working on a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Greenblatt met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday, and with Palestinian Authority President Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday.

“The joint commitment of both Israel and the United States (is) to advance a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians that strengthens the security of Israel and enhances stability in the region,” read a joint statement issued after Greenblatt’s five-hour meeting with Netanyahu.

Greenblatt stressed U.S. President Donald Trump’s concern that conditions for Palestinians in the West Bank should be improved by enabling economic growth there. Netanyahu said he is “fully committed to broadening prosperity for Palestinians, an effort that he believes will bolster the prospects for peace,” according to the statement.

The two men also continued the discussion on the settlement issue “in the hope of working out an approach that is consistent with the goal of advancing peace and security.”

During his meeting with Greenblatt, Abbas told the American envoy that “under President Trump’s leadership a historic peace deal is possible, and that it will enhance security throughout the region,” according to a U.S. Consulate statement. He also said the Palestinian “strategic choice” is a two-state solution.

Addressing Israel’s concerns that Palestinian incitement leads to violence against Israelis,  “President Abbas committed to preventing inflammatory rhetoric and incitement,” the statement said. The U.S. and Palestinian Authority are both determined to “combat violence and terrorism.”

Greenblatt and Abbas also discussed “plans to grow the Palestinian economy and the importance of ensuring economic opportunities for Palestinians, which would enhance the prospects for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.”