Abbas Says White House in Chaos

YERUSHALAYIM -
Abbas Trump
Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool photo via AP, File)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a delegation from Meretz visiting Ramallah on Sunday that he’s having a hard time communicating his message of peace to the Trump administration.

“Each time they reiterate their commitment to a two-state solution and the stop to settlement building,” Abbas says. “I urge them to tell Netanyahu that, but they are deterred.”

White House envoys are expected to make a sweep of the region in the latest peacemaking round over the coming days, including visits to Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

A White House official was quoted as saying that President Donald Trump believes the interval of relative calm in Israel at this juncture presents an “opportunity to continue discussions and the pursuit of peace.”

Abbas also claimed that it was Israel, not the Palestinians, who were stalling on resumption of security cooperation.

“After the Al-Aqsa attack, we stopped cooperation with the Israeli security establishment,” Abbas told the group led by party chairwoman Zehava Galon. “We recently contacted them to try to resume some kind of cooperation, but they did not respond, which is preventing progress in our relations.”

Over the weekend, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Egyptian Foreign Minister Samih Shukri met in Cairo to prepare for the American arrivals.

“The goal of the meeting is for the three states…to consult and coordinate before the visit of the American delegation to the region,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmad Abu Zeid said.

Last week, the Executive Committee of the PLO called on the Trump administration to declare that it supports the two-state solution and to ask Israel to halt settlement construction.

“The Executive Committee urged the American administration to back the principle of two states along the 1967 borders and ask the occupation authority, Israel, to halt colonial settlement activities,” an Executive Committee statement published on August 12 said.