PM-Kushner talks touched on helping Gaza, weakening Hamas
Speaking at weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu says in his Friday discussions with US Mideast delegation, talks centered on regional developments, peace push, and resolving Gaza's humanitarian crisis without strengthening Hamas; ‘There was absolute support for our positions and activities.’
“We discussed the diplomatic effort, regional issues and there was a particular focus on the situation in Gaza,” Netanyahu told ministers in his opening remarks at the weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu met Friday with Kushner and Greenblatt during the nearly four-hour-long meeting, as the two American representatives wrapped up their tour of the Middle East ahead of their unveiling of the much-anticipated US peace plan.
The three discussed ways to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, while maintaining Israel's security, ways to advance the peace process and regional developments.
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israel's Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer also attended the meeting.
“I have to say that there was absolute support for our positions and activities to ensure the security of the State of Israel and its citizens and all the residents of the Gaza region,” the prime minister reflected on the discussions.
“The things that were said, also publicly by the representatives of the American administration, and here, raised the question of how to solve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza without strengthening Hamas,” Netanyahu said.
“These things are clear. First of all, how to safeguard security, if that is at all possible. I expressed great appreciation for President Trump, for Secretary of State Pompeo and for (UN) Ambassador Nikki Haley for their steadfast and strong support in the UN. It is extremely impressive support,” he said.
The prime minister also said that he had held discussions with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, who said he has decided to open a consul general in Jerusalem.
“I told him that this is a welcome step and I sincerely hope that it will lead to the swift opening of the official and complete Bulgarian Embassy in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said.
Also during the cabinet meeting, Bayit Yehudi leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett commented on the American peace proposal.
“We will study the proposal that will be brought out of respect and friendship to our American friend, which proves that it sees in Israel a strategic and national asset and sees the importance of Israel’s security,” Bennett said. “That said, we will absolutely stand by the national security interests of the State of Israel.”
Earlier on Sunday, Kushner said that he is "ready to work with President Abbas" but said he had little reason to believe the Palestinian leader has the "ability, or desire," to reach a peace accord with Israel.
A day eralier, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed the United States seeks to overthrow Abbas as part of its efforts to reach the "deal of the century" between Israel and the Palestinians.
"In order to target the leadership, the US administration starts by creating a state of destabilization and confusion in the West Bank and at the same time works on undercutting international consensus on rejecting the so-called deal of the century and American conspiracies and support for the Palestinian cause," said Erekat, the PLO secretary-general.