ISRAEL AGREES TO HOLD BACK ON SETTLEMENTS
THE Trump administration launched its new Middle East policy in a five-hour meeting on Monday evening in Jerusalem between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.
Mr Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew who for years acted as Mr Trump’s attorney, arrived in the region for an official visit in order to “learn the issues”.
At the end of the meeting, a joint statement was published expressing the usual commitments to Israel’s security.
Sources in Jerusalem said after the meeting that the prime minister and senior members of the Trump administration had agreed that Israel would not carry out any major settlement building or go ahead with any planned legislation for annexation of parts of the West Bank for the time being.
Meanwhile, senior officials from both countries are continuing to work on a framework for a “regional peace initiative” that is expected to include also Egypt and Jordan and perhaps the Saudis.
On Tuesday, Mr Greenblatt met President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah for what was described as “a positive, far-ranging exchange about the current situation”. ANSHEL PFEFFER