On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he welcomes a delegation to be sent by U.S. President Donald Trump later this month to reignite the peace talks. They will meet leaders from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, a white house official said.
On Friday, the White House said Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and his senior adviser, and negotiator Jason Greenblatt would soon be sent to the region to hold meetings with regional leaders and discuss a “path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.”
Trump believe regional talks are important but he “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.
However, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the authority has no desire to begin the peace process with Netanyahu as long as he is being investigated. He added that it seems that things are out of his hands and it would be adventurous to enter into extensive negotiations with him.
In the meantime, some Middle East nations and Europe are trying to put on a happy face to hid the tensions simmering under the surface. Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority will collaborate this October on a large civilian exercise aimed at improving regional cooperation in fighting wildfires. The move is being seen as a welcome development following the recent Israeli-Arab tensions over the Temple Mount.
The European Union-sponsored Middle East Forest Fire drill, the first exercise of its kind, is scheduled to take place Oct. 22-26, with the aim of improving regional and international cooperation in dealing with large fires.
This announcement comes as:
- A female Palestinian assailant carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on Saturday. She attempted to stab an ultra-Orthodox man before stabbing another person.
- Police shot and arrested a Palestinian man suspected of planning to carry out a terror attack in Jerusalem on Sunday, officials said.
- Israeli forces detained at least 11 Palestinians, including two teenagers, during overnight raids between Saturday and Sunday across the occupied West Bank.
- Israeli forces arrested five Palestinians “suspected of being involved in terrorism” in the West Bank village of Eizariya, outside Jerusalem, on Thursday.