Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

US Credits Palestinian Demands, Shifts towards Agreement on Freezing Settlements | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Ramallah, Tel Aviv- Head of the Palestine National Authority Mahmoud Abbas has convened in a central meeting with US President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, Palestine-based sources reported.

They said the meeting would lay down the foundations for a new and promising peace process.

Despite a long-term peace process and the general reconciliation of Israel with Egypt and Jordan, Israelis and Palestinians have failed to reach a final peace agreement, in light of Israel’s over 50-year-old occupation.

“At the meeting, Abbas and Greenblatt discussed many topics, as well as the return to negotiations and providing the atmosphere needed for so,” sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Abbas told Trump’s aide that he is “fully committed to creating an atmosphere that is conducive to making peace,” according to a statement emailed by the US Consulate General in Jerusalem.

Abbas reviewed Palestine’s urgent demands, particularly concerning the halt of all illegal settlements and their expansion. Sources said that renegotiating the two-state solution cannot kick off without the settlement movement ceasing.

A two-state solution would allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.

Sources later added that the US response was not only positive but very aware of Palestinian demands.

Greenblatt is expected to return to Washington for preparing a feasible proposal to be offered to conflicting Palestinian and Israeli parties.

Greenblatt talked to Abbas about peace efforts, bolstering Palestinian security forces and stopping incitement against Israel.

The meeting, which he termed “positive and far-reaching,” followed talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem after Greenblatt’s arrival on Monday.

In Jerusalem Monday, Greenblatt and Netanyahu also talked about limits on construction in West Bank settlements “in the hope of working out an approach that is consistent with the goal of advancing peace and security,” the statement said.

Trump invited Abbas to the White House in a phone call last week, his first direct communication with a Palestinian leader since taking office in January. The contact came almost a month after Netanyahu was received by the president in Washington after years of friction with the preceding Barack Obama administration.

Greenblatt made the trip “to do a lot of listening, discussing the views of the leadership in the region,” acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Monday in Washington, calling it “the first of what will become many visits.”