Top U.S. officials off to Israel for key talks

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A number of top U.S. officials will visit Israel in coming days to discuss Iran strategy and negotiate settlements policy.

They include Robert Gates, the U.S. defense secretary; James Jones, the national security adviser; and Dennis Ross, a senior National Security Council staffer who is leading a team formulating policy on how best to end Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

Also returning to Israel is George Mitchell, the Obama administration’s Middle East envoy. Mitchell is negotiating the terms of a West Bank settlement freeze with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

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