Palestinian official denies reports of regional diplomatic initiative

“There is no regional peace process or anything like it,” a senior PA official stated, denying reports of a US-led regional initiative.

Majdi Al-Khalidi, Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas’ top diplomatic adviser, on Thursday slammed the idea of US-led regional peace process that would see Arab states thawing their relations with Israel as a first step toward restarting diplomatic talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

“There is no regional peace process or anything like it,” he said, according to the Palestinian News Network. “No one is talking about it with us or with anyone.”

Israel must first achieve peace with the Palestinians before moving on to the rest of the Arab world, he stressed.

Al-Khalidi denied an earlier report by Israel Hayom saying that President Donald Trump had told Abbas, during their private meeting in Bethlehem on Tuesday, that his peace initiative will be based on the Saudi plan for a normalization of ties between Israel and Arab countries in the region, which would then lead to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Saudi initiative includes a demand for full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders and the absorption of millions of Palestinian “refugees” into Israel.

The report quotes a Palestinian official as saying that Trump has not abandoned the two-state solution, although he does seek to explore other possible venues, including a broad Middle East peace plan and another interim agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump and Abbas discussed the prospects for peace during a press conference in Bethlehem. While Trump called for the resumption of talks, he notably stopped short of endorsing the idea of a Palestinian state.

In several speeches throughout his two-day visit to Israel, Trump spoke in general terms about his belief that the time is ripe to reach a deal, but he made no mention of a two-state solution.

By: World Israel News Staff