Ramallah– The Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of trying to hamper a scheduled visit of President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington, where he is expected to meet with President Donald Trump next month.
In a statement on Sunday, the Palestinian Foreign Affairs Ministry said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was leading an “Israeli agenda to hamper any opportunity to achieve peace.”
“The Israeli government, led by Netanyahu, has escalated its provocative statements and practices and set up obstacles to US efforts to revive the peace process and launch serious and true negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,” the statement added.
The ministry denounced statements made by Netanyahu during a recent interview with American channel Fox News.
During the interview, Netanyahu said Palestinians had a “doctrine of death,” and called on Palestinian authorities to stop transferring money to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israel.
The ministry said such statements were aimed at exerting pressure on the US Administration and sabotaging the expected visit of Abbas to Washington.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian delegation headed to the United States on Sunday to prepare for the summit between Abbas and Trump.
The delegation, which includes senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, General Intelligence chief Majid Faraj, and the head of Palestine Investment Fund Mohammad Mustafa, would be meeting with officials from the White House and State Department to discuss topics that will be tackled during the meeting of the two leaders.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said last week that Trump would meet with Abbas on May 3.
In his daily press briefing on Wednesday, he said discussions between the two presidents would touch on ways to revive the peace process and to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In an earlier interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad al-Maliki said the upcoming visit of Abbas to Washington was an “opportunity” to influence the new US Administration.
Maliki said that the Palestinian Authority was betting on the distinctiveness of Trump’s personality, “which could push him to go against the opinion of his personal advisors.”
“We don’t have the illusion that we can overturn the current orientation, but this visit would change Trump’s established ideas,” the Palestinian foreign minister said.
“We believe that this visit will provide an opportunity for President Abbas to present the truths as they are to the US president,” he added.