Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Palestinian Authority leader under pressure to 'end Trump boycott' - Daniel Siryoti and Israel Hayom Staff

by Daniel Siryoti and Israel Hayom Staff 

PA official: Direction in which Abbas is leading PA is diplomatic suicide.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Palestinian Authority President ‎
Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in 2017
Photo: Reuters

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly facing ‎substantial pressure to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump's ‎top Middle East advisers this week, despite the rift between ‎Washington and Ramallah.‎

Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. ‎Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason ‎Greenblatt will visit Israel, Egypt and Jordan to discuss the ‎upcoming U.S. peace plan for the region. ‎

Abbas has rejected the ‎U.S. as a peace broker in the wake of ‎Trump's Dec. 6 recognition of ‎Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying ‎the move proved the U.S. was ‎‎"grossly biased" toward Israel.‎

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh told Palestinian media ‎Sunday that Kushner and Greenblatt's visit is "a waste of time" ‎and that the U.S. peace plan is "doomed to fail."‎

He claimed the White House is trying to "separate the ‎Gaza Strip from the West Bank," and repeated that "without the ‎agreement of the Palestinian people and as long as an attempt to ‎circumvent the legitimate Palestinian institutions continues, the ‎meetings are destined to fail."‎

Despite this, Palestinian officials told Israel Hayom Sunday that officials in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab ‎Emirates, Egypt and Jordan, as well as top officials in the ‎Palestinian Authority itself, are pressuring Abbas to meet with the ‎American envoys. ‎

‎"Discussing the U.S. peace proposal does not obligate the PA to ‎anything, but it would be wise to hear the details before rejecting it ‎outright," one Palestinian official said. ‎

Abbas has conditioned any meeting with U.S. officials on ‎Washington rescinding its recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli ‎capital and canceling its embassy move there. ‎

Arab diplomats said the Palestinian leader is likely to ‎compromise and discuss the new ‎American peace plan, ‎albeit under protest.

‎"The statements by Abu Mazen [Abbas] and his associates in the ‎Arab and Palestinian media against the Trump administration plan ‎are intended for the Palestinian public's ears," a senior PA ‎official told Israel Hayom. ‎

‎"Abu Mazen doesn't have many options. Eventually, he will have to ‎climb down the tree, compromise, and accept the American plan. ‎This is just a proposal and all the parties have told him that he can't ‎automatically reject it before studying it," he said.‎

Another Palestinian official told Israel that the Palestinian Authority is wary of potential punitive action the U.S. may take against ‎Ramallah, especially given Trump's unwavering stance against ‎Iran and North Korea on nuclear weapons, and against the European Union and ‎other U.S. allies on issues such as trade tariffs.‎

‎"The Palestinian leadership is preoccupied with a power struggle ‎that is being waged behind the scenes over the post-Abbas era," ‎he said, referring to the ailing 82-year-old leader's ‎refusal to name a successor.‎

‎"Officials in the moderate Arab states and in Washington have ‎made it clear to Abbas that rejecting the U.S. peace plan and the ‎continued boycotting of Trump's envoys will come back to bite ‎them, and that this is a strategic mistake given President Trump's ‎hardline policies and the support he has among the moderate Arab ‎states."‎

A third PA official confirmed that senior Saudi and UAE officials have made it clear to Abbas that they support the ‎American peace plan and are willing to offer the Palestinians ‎diplomatic and financial guarantees to ensure they return to the ‎negotiating table.‎

‎"Abu Mazen has held quite a few conversations with senior officials ‎in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Amman and he was told, in no ‎uncertain terms, that he has to at least listen to what the American ‎plan includes. He was also assured that he would receive their [the ‎moderate Arab states'] backing for any reservations he might have ‎about the plan," the official said. ‎

‎"The main message was that the Palestinian Authority had to listen ‎to the American proposal because Abu Mazen is in no position to ‎dictate terms like who he will or won't speak with. He will receive ‎the Arab nations' support as long as his decisions are rational and ‎strategic. ‎

‎"The direction in which Abu Mazen is leading the PA is diplomatic ‎suicide that the Palestinians are likely to regret for generations to ‎come. We have already seen that Trump is not ‎‎[previous President Barack] Obama. It's high time Abu Mazen understood that as ‎well."‎

Daniel Siryoti and Israel Hayom Staff

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/06/18/palestinian-authority-leader-under-pressure-to-end-trump-boycott/

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