Trump envoy hosts business-centered video confab with Israelis, Palestinians
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Trump envoy hosts business-centered video confab with Israelis, Palestinians

In bid to improve climate, Jason Greenblatt brings together officials and businessmen from both sides to discuss Palestinian economy

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) meets with Jason Greenblatt, the US president's assistant and special representative for international negotiations, at Abbas's office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 14, 2017. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) meets with Jason Greenblatt, the US president's assistant and special representative for international negotiations, at Abbas's office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 14, 2017. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

In a bid to improve the climate between Israelis and Palestinians, US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the peace process on Thursday hosted a video conference with officials and businessmen from both sides to discuss ways to boost the Palestinian economy.

“The discussion followed up on recent US consultations with Israeli and Palestinian business representatives, as well as with Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials, and focused on concrete private sector initiatives which would create new opportunities for growth, and meaningfully improve the Palestinian economy and the quality of life for Palestinians, thereby helping to foster an atmosphere more conducive to peace,” according to a readout provided by US Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Led by Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, the American delegation to the video conference also included National Security Council staff and State Department officials.

Israeli and Palestinian “private sector leaders” and officials participated in the event, which was billed as “part of the Trump Administration’s broader efforts to advance a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Greenblatt has traveled to the region twice recently, meeting with top government officials and private individuals from Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan in a bid to discuss ways to advance the stalled peace process.

Thursday’s discussion “focused on concrete private sector initiatives which would create new opportunities for growth, and meaningfully improve the Palestinian economy and the quality of life for Palestinians, thereby helping to foster an atmosphere more conducive to peace,” according to the readout.

The event produced a “positive and productive discussion, the first in a series of such consultations, exemplified Palestinians and Israelis building a more positive future together,” it said.

On March 16, Greenblatt met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss, among other things, “concrete measures that could help support and advance Palestinian economic development.”

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