World Jewish Congress Chairman Ronald Lauder worked with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to prepare him for his meeting at the White House with President Trump, sources in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s circle have told Ma’ariv.
According to the Monday morning report, Lauder hosted the PA chairman in his Manhattan home on the eve of the Trump meeting, as part of the cosmetics heir’s private campaign for peace in the Middle East.
Lauder has had a falling out with Prime Minister Netanyahu starting in 2011, when he attacked the PM over his failure to pursue the two-state solution in earnest. Since then Lauder has been involved in Israeli police investigations of Netanyahu, presumably furnishing them with anecdotes from the old times when the prime minister and the cosmetics fortune heir were still friend.
Lauder has been under attack from the Jewish and Israeli right, which have accused him of sabotaging Israel’s policy regarding Judea and Samaria and the settlements, and even legitimizing Hamas as a “partner for peace.”
In what has become a battle over the heart and mind of President Trump, the time Abbas spent being coached by Lauder, a close acquaintance of the president, was extremely valuable. Abbas reportedly came home happy with his initial contact with Trump, having overcome attempts by pro-Israel media and politicians to torpedo his meeting.
Abbas, it turns out, was an attentive student and managed to forge a personal chemistry with Trump, according to Ma’ariv. He invited the president to stop in Bethlehem on his May 22 trip to Israel – and Trump happily accepted. That’s one more meeting between Abbas and Trump Israel would rather do without.