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Kushner, Greenblatt in Middle East this Week to Promote Peace Talks


In the Trump administration's efforts to restart direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, President Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner is making his third visit to Israel this week.

Kushner is slated to arrive on Wednesday, two days after President Trump's special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, arrives in Israel.

Their visits follow Friday's terror attack outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City. Border Police Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka, 23, was fatally stabbed in the attack and four others wounded, including a police officer.

Both Kushner and Greenblatt will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas at his headquarters in Ramallah. They hope to learn more about possible next steps to advance efforts to restart direct negotiations between Israel and the P.A. 

In Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu told ministers Abbas "praised the murderers as heroes."

"Instead of condemning the attack, Fatah – which is headed by Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] – issued a statement in which it condemns the Border Police fighters who killed the terrorists and praised the murderers as heroes," he said. 

Netanyahu called on world leaders to step up to the plate and condemn both the murderers and those who support them. He also called for an immediate cessation of the Palestinian Authority's payments to terrorists and their families, which, he said, is "something that only encourages terror."

This trip is the initial follow-up since President Trump's first visit to the Middle East as president last month, when he delayed his decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

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