Trump's son-in-law Kushner begins peace push with Middle East talks

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This month marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War in which Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Jared Kushner is traveling to the Middle East this week to continue work toward a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

It is being built for the roughly 40 families evicted from the wildcat outpost of Amona earlier this year after Israel's high court ruled their homes had been built illegally on private Palestinian land.

On Monday the White House announced that Kushner as well as Jason Greenblatt, a top USA national security aide, would meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week.

Settlement watchdog Peace Now said the settlement boom coincided with a 2.5% drop in construction starts inside Israel. The two arrived in the region amidst the White House's efforts to revive the long-stalled peace talks.

It is the first new Jewish settlement in the West Bank in some 25 years.

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"There was not, and there will never be, as good a government for the settlements as ours", the prime minister added.

Unnamed White House officials cited by several news sources have reiterated that an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a priority for the Trump administration.

While preliminary work has already begun, plans for the settlement have yet to go through the approval process, meaning actual construction work has yet to begin.

Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew who was Trump's real-estate adviser, is soft on settlements and was even an armed guard at a West Bank yeshiva he studied at in the 1980s.

Settlements are seen as illegal under worldwide law and are major stumbling blocks to a solution as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state in a two-state settlement.

Building settler homes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank soared 70 percent in 2017 to March, data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed today. They reportedly offered Hamas a quid pro quo: a more open border and a supply of electricity in return for handing over 17 men wanted by Cairo on terrorism charges, cessation of weapons smuggling into Sinai, among other demands. Israel disputes that, citing biblical, historical and political links to the West Bank, as well as security interests.

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