Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Amid PA rejectionism, Arab nations threaten to 'go ‎over Abbas' head' - Daniel Siryoti, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

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
Photo: EPA  
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.‎

Abbas declared that he would not engage with the U.S. on peace talks after Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December and subsequently relocated the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Abbas maintains that these moves clearly demonstrate Trump's pro-Israel bias and therefore the U.S. cannot act as an impartial peace broker between Israel and the Palestinians.

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

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/06/25/amid-pa-rejectionism-arab-nations-threaten-to-go-%e2%80%8eover-abbas-head/

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