Palestinians need Trump two-state pledge before peace

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner met with the Saudi crown prince and Qatar's emir, kicking off a regional trip to explore the possibility of re-energizing Israel-Palestinian peace efforts that stalled more than three years ago. No mention was made of the row between Riyadh and Doha.

The crown prince and U.S. officials discussed hopes for "a real and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians" as well as ways to fight terror financing, according to SPA.

In Doha, which hosts the political leadership of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, Sheikh Tamim and the envoys discussed "the improvement of the humanitarian situation and living conditions in Gaza Strip", Qatar state news agency QNA reported.

They'll head later to the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the West Bank.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince met senior US officials including presidential adviser Jared Kushner in Jeddah on Tuesday and discussed efforts to bring about peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, Saudi state news agency SPA said.

Kushner embarks on his mission at a time when Gulf nations are embroiled in an unprecedented spat and Palestinians are voicing doubts about the White House's ability to broker a deal amid its own turmoil, capped by the recent ousting of chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

Last week, the Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers expressed support for US Middle East peace efforts at a Cairo meeting.

Kushner is expected to visit Israel Wednesday, where the delegation will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"I have met with Trump envoys about 20 times since the beginning of his term as president of the United States", Haaretz quoted Abbas as saying, citing "notes taken by some of the meeting's participants".

Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Abbas's Fatah party, said they would be demanding a clear commitment from Kushner and Greenblatt to an independent Palestinian state.

Abbas is demanding that Trump publicly declare the two-state solution as the only solution and that he insist Israel "stop creating facts on the ground" through construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

  • Jon Douglas