Senior-level United States and Israeli delegations concluded today four days of intensive discussions, with a particular focus on concrete, near-term measures to improve the overall climate in order to advance the prospects for a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The United States delegation was led by Jason Greenblatt, President Donald J. Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations, and included representatives of the National Security Council staff and the Department of State. The Israeli delegation was led by the Chief of Staff to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoav Horowitz, and included Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer and representatives of the Israeli National Security Council and office of the Prime Minister. The issues the two delegations discussed are exceptionally complicated, and the fact that both governments dedicated such senior delegations for nearly a full week of talks reflects the close cooperation between the two countries and the importance both assign to this vital task.
A principal focus of the discussions was specific measures that could have a meaningful impact on the economic environment in the West Bank and Gaza, allowing the Palestinians to more fully realize their economic potential. The Israelis welcomed United States interest in continuing to play a facilitating role in advancing issues regarding electricity and water in ways that will benefit both Israel and the Palestinians and also move the Palestinians toward self-sustainability in these crucial areas.
Following up on discussions Mr. Greenblatt had in Ramallah last week, the two sides agreed on the importance of implementing measures benefitting the people of Gaza, and in that regard, the delegations discussed the necessity of all parties to the 2014 Gaza Reconstruction Conference in Cairo fulfilling their pledges to bring humanitarian relief and economic development to Gaza in ways that benefit the population without further empowering Hamas or other terrorist organizations.
The two delegations also discussed Israeli settlement construction, following up on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Washington and Mr. Greenblatt’s recent visit to Israel. The United States delegation reiterated President Trump’s concerns regarding settlement activity in the context of moving towards a peace agreement. The Israeli delegation made clear that Israel’s intent going forward is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes those concerns into consideration. The talks were serious and constructive, and they are ongoing.