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New Possibilities for Solutions to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Congressmen Say

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JERUSALEM, Israel – President Trump is pressing ahead with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but visiting U.S. congressmen say the situation on the ground is not what it seems.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Trump advisors Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt in Tel Aviv Thursday.

"We have a lot of things to talk about: how to advance peace, stability and security in our region – prosperity too. And I think all of them are within our reach," Netanyahu said.

"The president is very committed to achieving a solution here that will be able to bring prosperity and peace to all people in this area," said Kushner.

While Netanyahu's office described the talks as "constructive and substantive," Congressman Mac Thornberry, R-TX, told CBN News the U.S. may need to rethink the solution.

"The key fundamental point is that what we have always believed – that there has to be a two-state solution and that Israel can be more secure if it trades off some land that would become a Palestinian state, those assumptions are really in doubt, are being questioned. Some of the questions are what's in the best interests of the people," he said.

Protesting Palestinians expressed their displeasure ahead of Kushner's meeting with P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We are totally unhappy that the American administration conducted no pressure on Israel to stop settlement activities that are killing any potential for peace," ABC News quoted PLO Executive Committee member Mustafa Barghouti.

Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) remain one of the thorniest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sen. James Lankford, R-OK, told CBN News that worldwide perception of growth in the region is inaccurate.

"A lot of the growth is just population growth – what some people call settlements – is just new people born and new houses need to be built," he explained. "So there's a lot of those new neighborhoods coming up, as well as expansion of new neighborhoods, just to support the population of so many Jews moving from around the world still to Israel, as well as those born here just needing new places."

And Lankford says there's more that you don't see in the media.

"In just a couple of years since I've been in the Samaria area for instance there's been a tremendous amount of growth in factories and development," Lankford said. "Many of those factories popping up in that area have the Israelis and Palestinians working together side-by-side."

Thornberry hopes there's change ahead.

"If we are creative and think outside the box, maybe that there are new possibilities and that's in everybody's best interests, especially the people who live in Israel and in the West Bank area," he said.

Both congressmen made clear it is ultimately up to the Israelis and Palestinians to make peace, not the U.S.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel full-time for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism, then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91, and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and the