Palestinian Authority renewing ties with Trump, report says

The Palestinians are sending out feelers to the Trump administration, a senior PA official says according to a report. 

By World Israel News Staff

The Palestinians are “considering a new track,” in regards to everything connected to the “deal of the century,” Israel Hayom reports in its front page story on Tuesday.

According to the Hebrew daily, a senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official says that messages have been passed back and forth between Washington and Ramallah to resolve their differences.

A warming of relations would mean an end to the boycott imposed by the Mahmoud Abbas-led PA following the Trump administration’s announcement that it would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

The unnamed official also told Israel Hayom that a delegation led by the head of the PA’s General Intelligence Services, Majed Faraj, will soon head to Washington for talks with senior U.S. officials. He also says secret communications have already been held between Trump and Abbas representatives.

“We’re talking about feelers only, but the two sides presented a positive approach and notched progress toward the possibility of renewing relations,” the PA official told the paper.

Israel Hayom suggests a number of reasons for the PA’s change of heart. One is its relative isolation after the Bahrain Workshop in late June. Abbas had called for a boycott of the conference but was largely ignored by the Arab states, something that would have been unheard-of a decade ago.

The PA is also facing economic difficulties, having refused taxes collected by Israel on its behalf. The decision was prompted by Israel’s announcement that it would withhold taxes the PA pays to terrorists and their families, approximately $11.5 million each month.

Such terrorists are considered “martyrs” and heroes by the Palestinian population and rather than be seen as cutting off funds to them, the PA chose to reject all taxes.

That amount, $170-$200 million a month, is equivalent to half the PA’s budget. As a result, the PA has been forced to slash by as much as half the salaries of its civil servants and security forces.

A smaller piece of evidence offered by the paper that may signal a renewal of ties is a recent interview by Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt in a Palestinian newspaper. As Greenblatt is considered persona non grata in the PA the interview could be read as a change in attitude by the authority.