Low expectations ahead of Trump-Abbas meeting

The US and Palestinians have little hope that the upcoming meeting between Abbas and Trump will have any meaningful outcome.

Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas is slated to visit with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday, the first time the two leaders will meet.

Both sides are keeping expectations for the meeting low, the Washington Post reported.

Last week, a Palestinian delegation led by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat traveled to Washington to prepare for the visit. They met with Trump’s envoy on Middle East peace, Jason Greenblatt, and with White House and State Department officials.

Palestinian officials told the Post that the Trump team does not seem to know exactly what Trump plans to discuss or propose. White House staff declined to say anything at all about their goals for the meeting.

“It’s hard to see that this is going to turn out to be much more than a stage visit,” said former Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller.

It appears there is little on which Trump and Abbas can agree. The US will likely demand a commitment to address the issue of incitement to terrorism by the PA and a pledge to stop the Palestinian policy of paying families of terrorists who have attacked Israelis, among them US citizens.

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Ahead of the meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a video on Facebook showing Palestinian officials, including Abbas, proudly acknowledging their violent anti-Semitism and widespread incitement to terror.

On the other hand, Abbas seeks a total freeze in Israeli construction in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, an issue that may not sit well with Trump.

“The president has never met Abbas and that makes it an important meeting,” former White House and State Department official Elliott Abrams told the Post. “But if he forms the opinion that Abbas is not strong enough to do a deal and then implement it, that will have a real impact on American policy.”

By: World Israel News Staff

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