Two advisors to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were not part of the delegation to China and instead, flew to Washington, DC, where they will try to reach an understanding with President Donald Trump's administration, notably on the issue of the settlements.
The US president's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt had recently concluded a round of talks with both Israeli and Palestinian officials, during which Netanyahu claimed that there is no political feasibility to freezing settlement construction.
Netanyahu sent his two advisors to Washington to join the talks held by Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer along with Greenblatt, in an attempt to reach an understanding on a variety of subjects. The importance of the mission is evident due to the fact that the two consultants did not join Netanyahu on his trip to China.
Greenblatt and Dermer head a team established by Trump and Netanyahu in an attempt to come up with a formula for settlement construction.
Israel is seeking approval to build in the area of municipal jurisdiction which consists of 8 to 10 percent of the West Bank. The Americans oppose this notion, though agree to construction within already existing residential areas. They are also emphasizing the need to form a collaborative mechanism regarding Israeli announcements on the settlements so as to avoid embarrassment to the Trump administration.
The prime minister was originally scheduled to attend the AIPAC conference at the end of this month and meet with President Trump, but the trip was canceled. The parties are trying to reach a middle ground, which both sides could potentially live with.
During his visit, Greenblatt held an unprecedented meeting with two settler leaders, Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, and Oded Revivi, Mayor of Efrat, during which the two expressed concern over the looming possibility of the freezing of construction.
(Translated and edited by N. Elias)