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Reports on Summit between Abbas, Netanyahu in US | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu. CHRIS KLEPONIS / AFP

Tel Aviv- There has been conflicting reports in Tel Aviv on huge progress in the efforts exerted by US President Donald Trump to settle the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.

Some reports said that a date has been set for the resumption of negotiations at a summit that brings together Trump, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli sources said that Trump decided for the summit to take place within four to six weeks, adding Abbas reacted positively to US pressure to carry out the negotiations without any preconditions.

Defense Minister Lieberman said Israel and the Palestinians are “closer than ever” to a peace deal.

In an interview with Channel 2 News, Lieberman claimed the conditions for successful negotiations have never been better, adding that Netanyahu was making “big efforts” to promote it.

When asked whether certain factions within Netanyahu’s coalition might thwart an agreement, Lieberman said: “If a deal is put together that includes an arrangement with moderate Arab countries, embassies, trade deals, direct flights, I assume it will receive an overwhelming majority both in the Knesset and among the Israeli people.”

But Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz had a contradictory opinion, saying “I personally haven’t reached a conclusion that the other side is ready, capable and willing to reach an agreement.”

“I have all the information that Lieberman has and I find his statements baseless,” he said.

On the Palestinian side, Bloomberg quoted Abbas’ senior economic adviser and former deputy prime minister as saying that the Palestinian leader will temporarily shelve his long-standing demand for Israel to freeze West Bank settlement construction in order to revive peace talks under the Trump administration.

“We think it’s better for all of us right now to focus on giving this new administration a chance to deliver,” Mohammad Mustafa said.

However, he later denied making such statements.