ZOA’s Klein: President Trump Willing to Give Peace Negotiations ‘One More Chance’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian demonstrators hold slogans as they protest against the arrival of a U.S. delegation headed by Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner to meet with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, on Thursday. (Flash90)

Amid conflicting reports on how the United States intends to move forward with Middle East negotiations, a prominent American Jewish figure told Maariv that the current push by President Donald Trump’s administration would be its last attempt to restart negotiations. In an interview with the newspaper, Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America said that the current visit to the Middle East by U.S. envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt “will be the last attempt by President Trump to advance negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Klein, who is known to have close ties to the Trump administration, said he was quoting top administration officials when he said that if the current mission did not bear fruit, Trump will announce that he is giving up on the negotiations. Trump, he said, is “disappointed” that his declarations that he intends to achieve a deal are apparently not being taken seriously “and have not brought about movement on either side.”

On Friday, reports in the Israeli media said the Palestinians were “disappointed” with the meeting between Kushner and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, with the American envoy failing to even bring up the two-state solution as the preferred objective of negotiations. That report was contradicted by another one in the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, which said the two had agreed that the two-state solution was the preferred one, but that borders needed to be defined during negotiations.

According to some reports, Kushner told Abbas that insisting that Israel freeze construction in Yehudah and Shomron would be “counterproductive.” Haaretz and The Times of Israel quoted a senior White House official as calling that comment “nonsense,” and stating that, “[t]his comment was never made.”