Abbas ‘greatly disappointed’ by meeting with US officials, insists on funding terror

A White House briefing says a meeting between Abbas and the Trump administration this week made progress, although reports indicate the Palestinian side was deeply disappointed, especially by the demand to cease funding terrorists.

A report in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz indicates that despite Washington’s positive statement regarding a meeting between US envoys and Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas this week, there was indeed tension as well as profound disappointment on the part of the Ramallah government.

Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and United States Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome met Wednesday with Abbas and senior PA officials in Ramallah. According to a White House briefing, “the two sides had a productive meeting and reaffirmed their commitment to advancing President Trump’s goal of a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians that enhances stability in the region.”

An issue of contention, however, seems to be the PA’s payment of salaries to Palestinian prisoners and families of dead terrorists as well as incitement to terror in the PA-administered areas.

Senior Palestinian officials said the PA leadership was “greatly disappointed” by their meeting with the US envoys, Ha’aretz reported. “According to them, Kushner and Greenblatt, who came from a meeting in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, raised in the beginning of the meeting Israel’s complaints over the payments and the incitement. ‘They sounded like Netanyahu’s advisers and not like fair arbiters,’ a senior Palestinian official said.”

Furthermore, the Ha’aretz report continued, in a preparatory meeting between Greenblatt and an Abbas adviser the previous day, the issue of payments to terrorists was discussed, and the PA’s response was that this was an internal Palestinian matter.

Times of Israel corroborated that report, saying the PA official at Tuesday’s meeting suggested the “Americans ‘are buying’ Netanyahu’s complaints about Palestinian incitement, and that Greenblatt was insisting on an end to the payments.”

Palestinians Rebuff Pressure to End Terror Funding

“The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing a closed diplomatic meeting, said the Palestinians had rebuffed Greenblatt’s pressure and demanded an Israeli settlement freeze,” the Times said.

As for “settlements,” construction began on a new Israeli community in northern Samaria on Tuesday – the first to be built in the region of Judea and Samaria in two decades, Netanyahu asserted.

Nevertheless, according to the White House statement, “The United States officials and Palestinian leadership underscored that forging peace will take time and stressed the importance of doing everything possible to create an environment conducive to peacemaking. Kushner and Greenblatt plan to return to Washington, D.C. to brief President Trump, Secretary Tillerson and General McMaster and to continue the conversation about next steps.”

By: World Israel News Staff