Kushner arrives to try for Israeli-Palestinian breakthrough

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Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser, arrived in Israel on Wednesday as part of an effort to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The arrival of Kushner, who the president has tapped to oversee Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, comes one month after Trump visited Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Bethlehem for meetings with Netanyahu and Abbas.

According to the White House official, Trump strongly believed that peace would be possible and its a top priority for him to achieve the last peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

The new atmosphere of goodwill, along with concerns of potentially provoking the unpredictable president, could give Trump leverage in extracting concessions from the sides.

Peace Now, a settlement watchdog group, has said that the rise in construction in the West Bank correlates to a drop in new buildings within Israel of 2.5%.

More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem - land the Palestinians claim for a future state.

The move has infuriated the Palestinians, who say all settlements are illegal obstacles to peace.

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In one case, a cameraman was ordered to leave a sidewalk outside the government compound that houses Netanyahu's office, and in other case, a cameraman was ordered to delete his memory card of all images of the prime minister's office.

The Israeli Prime Minister made the announcment as United States envoys prepared to discuss a new peace push.

Mladenov was delivering the second report on implementation of the resolution adopted by the council in December condemning Israeli settlements as a "flagrant violation" of worldwide law.

Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, are illegal under global law and are considered one of the main obstacles to peace. "They have had to deal with crippling Israeli closures, Palestinian divisions and have lived through three devastating conflicts".

On Monday, Greenblatt tweeted that he prayed for peace at Jerusalem's Western Wall and paid a condolence call to the family of an Israeli border policewoman killed by Palestinians last week. He has publicly asked Netanyahu to show restraint in settlement construction, and he has pressured the Palestinians on the issues of incitement and welfare payments to militants' families.

Abbas has also cut the salaries of tens of thousands of former employees in Gaza, hurting the territory's already poor economy. Then U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Israel had urged Washington to wield its veto.

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