by Daniel Siryoti, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates say they will back the U.S.'s Middle East peace plan regardless of whether the Palestinian Authority is on board
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
Top officials in the moderate Arab nations have reportedly informed U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East envoys that they would back an American peace plan for the region regardless of whether the Palestinian Authority agrees to discuss it.
Senior officials in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates met with White House adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt in recent days and reportedly told them that, having become fed up with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' rejectionism, they will not stand in Trump's way when he presents his Middle East peace plan.
The White House said last week that the long-awaited plan, dubbed the "deal of the century," would most likely be presented in August.
Senior Cairo and Amman officials told Israel Hayom that they were informed in advance of the remarks that Kushner would make in an interview with the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, published Sunday, prior to the Trump adviser's interview with the east Jerusalem-based daily.
In the interview, Kushner excoriated Abbas for snubbing U.S. peace efforts and appealed to the Palestinian people to circumvent Abbas' rejectionist stance, adding that Washington was more than willing to work with the Palestinian leader directly.
Over the past six months, Abbas and other Palestinian Authority officials have refused to meet with American representatives.
A top Egyptian official told Israel Hayom Sunday that the moderate Arab nations' position was "unanimous" and that Cairo, Amman, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi would not oppose an attempt by Washington to go over Abbas' head in this case.
However, officials in all four nations made it clear to both American envoys that they would not be party to any deal that compromises Palestinian interests.
"Despite the strategic mistakes made by Abu Mazen [Abbas] and his people," an Egyptian official said, "Kushner and Greenblatt were told, in no uncertain terms, that the Palestinians deserve an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital."
"Kushner agreed to the Arab nations' demand and made in clear during his meetings with [Jordan's] King Abdullah and [Egyptian] President [Abdel-Fattah] el-Sissi that the interests of the Palestinian people will not be harmed if the regional peace plan is introduced without the Palestinian leadership's cooperation," he said.
However, chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday that the United States was clearly "determined to dictate a solution" in the region.
Other Palestinian officials have accused Kushner of trying to undermine Abbas and what they described as their leader's moderate camp.
Ahead of Kushner and Greenblatt's regional visit, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had tried to pressure Abbas into meeting with them but to no avail.
Top officials in all four nations made it clear to the Palestinian leader that he had to listen to the American proposal because he was simply in no position to dictate terms to the Americans as to with whom he will or will not negotiate.
A senior Jordanian official told Israel Hayom Sunday that it was made clear to the American envoys that the "Arab states will not be the ones to throw a wrench in the wheels of the peace process, and that Abbas' continued refusal to work with the Americans will lead to a regional peace plan being launched without him."
This, he warned, "would render the Palestinian leadership irrelevant with respect to the peace process."
Daniel Siryoti, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
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