Kushner heading to Mideast for peace talks

Israeli shekels and Saudi riyals

Israeli shekels and Saudi riyals

Netanyahu was forced to strong-arm members of his own cabinet to meet Trump during his visit to Jerusalem where the American President said "We want Israel to have peace" but also spoke of the "threat of (the) Iranian regime.causing so much violence and suffering".

Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, will travel to the Middle East this week in pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The White House official said Kushner's visit is likely to be one of many trips before significant progress is made toward a peace deal.

Together with Middle East special envoy Jason Greenblatt, Kushner is slated to arrive in Israel on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Greenblatt, who now serves as one of President Trump's top national security aides, will arrive in the Middle East on Monday, with Jared Kushner following on Wednesday.

The Kushner trip was first reported in the Wall Street Journal. Kushner's meetings with Russian officials and business executives have come under scrutiny as the investigation has probed links between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

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

More than 600,000 Israeli settlers now live in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, alongside around 2.9 million Palestinians, which critics say makes a two-state agreement highly unlikely.

Since then, conversations have been ongoing, the White House official said.

Commenting on the new figures, Peace Now, an Israeli settlement watchdog, said in a statement that such construction "distances (Israel) from the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a two-state solution".

Earlier this month, Trump waived a law that requiring the U.S. to move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Last month, news surfaced that Kushner may have discussed creating a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin with Kislyak.

Settlements are seen as illegal under worldwide law and major stumbling blocks to a solution as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state in a two-state settlement.

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