Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Tense Meeting between Abbas, Trump’s Envoys | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with White House senior advisor Jared Kushner in the West Bank City of Ramallah June 21, 2017. Thaer Ghanaim/PPO/Handout via REUTERS

Ramallah- A meeting held on Thursday between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US President’s Advisors Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt was “tense and strained”, well-informed Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

The sources noted that the two US officials have focused, during their encounter with Abbas, on the need to end incitement and to cut the salaries of Palestinian “detainees and deceased”, who had perpetrated attacks against Israelis, instead of tackling the principle of the two-state solution.

While Abbas put forward his viewpoint on very sensitive issues, including the state, borders, Jerusalem and refugees, Trump’s son-in-law Kushner and his Middle East envoy Greenblatt have pressured the Palestinian president to cut salaries and stop incitement, according to the same sources.

The sources added that Abbas has expressed his anger and refused to comply with the salaries demand, saying that he was only ready to revive the US-Palestinian-Israeli committee, which is in charge of monitoring “incitement.”

Abbas also said that instead of focusing on salaries, which he regarded as “an internal affair with a social dimension”, attention should be laid on the need to stop settlements in order to prove the good intentions. However, the Palestinian president received no promises in this regard.

The meeting did not see any agreement or breakthrough on pending issues, including the date of the resumption of negotiations, but only an evidence for Ramallah that the US was supporting Israel’s viewpoints and would not be able to lead both sides to a solution.

An official speaking on condition of anonymity told Asharq Al-Awsat: “They are biased…nonetheless, we will wait for the outcome of the negotiations that are expected in Washington next month.”

In this regard, the official noted that a Palestinian delegation of five members would travel to Washington next month to meet with a US counterpart committee to discuss priority issues set by the US side.

An Israeli delegation would also present its views in Washington on the same issues.

Palestinian president’s spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudenieh said that during the meeting, Abbas “clearly and accurately discussed all final status issues”.

He added that the Palestinian president reiterated his call for the two-state solution and for reaching sustainable and comprehensive peace.

A statement issued by the White House said that the two sides had a “productive meeting and reaffirmed their commitment to advancing President Trump’s goal of a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians that enhances stability in the region.”

“Kushner and Greenblatt discussed with President Abbas priorities for the Palestinians and potential next steps, acknowledging the need for economic opportunities for Palestinians and major investments in the Palestinian economy,” the statement added.