Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian teen: Palestinians

Trump Envoy Reportedly Demanded Settlement Freezes in Netanyahu Meeting

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported Wednesday, citing an Israeli source familiar with the talks, that during his visit last week, Greenblatt made it clear that the Trump administration wants Israel to place substantial restrictions on construction in the settlements.

The joint statement released Thursday night after four days of talks between top officials said the issues are "exceptionally complicated", a signal that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's optimism about a renewed diplomatic closeness with the United States after eight years of tension with the Obama administration may be fading. "The talks were serious and constructive, and they are ongoing".

"The reports concerning...any purported USA demands of Israel in talks regarding the settlements are false", the official said.

Ironically, the discussions concluded on the same day as the Senate confirmed David Friedman, a pro-settlement hardliner, as the new U.S. ambassador to Israel.

The Trump administration reiterated its concerns about Israeli settlement activity, the two sides said on Thursday, as a round of talks ended without agreement over limiting future construction on land the Palestinians want for a state.

Trump's special representative for global negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, led the United States delegation, following a visit to the region last week.

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The US-Israeli agreement under discussion is expected to be announced with a set of economic and development projects in the Palestinian territories with an emphasis on Gaza, the officials said. Soon after Trump took office, Netanyahu announced that Israel would establish the first new settlement in some two decades.

In addition to two meetings with Netanyahu, Greenblatt met with Abbas, Palestinian civil society groups and visited with Palestinian children in a West Bank Refugee camp.

"I'd like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit", he told the Israeli premier at a press conference.

"Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like".

The Trump administration first articulated the nuances of its stance on settlements in early February, stating, "While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal". He has told both parties that now is the time for negotiations. "I can live with either one", the president said.

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