Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday received a delegation of Israel’s leftwing Meretz party dignitaries at his presidential headquarters in Ramallah, to discuss ways to advance peace efforts in the region, WAFA reported.
With five MKs, Meretz represents roughly 4% of Israel’s voters.
The delegation, headed by Meretz Chair Zehava Gal-On, confirmed to Abbas the need to end the Israeli occupation and establish an independent State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders.
With that part out of the way, Abbas shared with the Meretz delegation his bewilderment over the conduct of the Trump administration in handling the Israeli-Palestinian issue. According to Abbas, after meeting with President Donald Trump’s emissaries in recent months, all he had been hearing from them is that they supported the two-state solution and the cessation of construction in the settlements – but refuse to apply pressure on Israel in that direction the way every US Administration has done since the late 1980s.
“I have met with Trump’s emissaries about 20 times since he took office as President of the United States,” Abbas said, according to a registration conducted by some of the participants in the meeting, Ha’aretz reported. “Each time they reiterated to me how much they believe and are committed to the two-state solution and to the cessation of construction in the settlements. I urged them to say the same thing to Netanyahu, but they are deterred. They said they would examine it but never came back to me.”
The Chairman said he did not know if the Trump administration’s conduct was indicative of what is to be expected of the coming visit of the American delegation headed by President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and peace envoy Jason Greenblatt who will arrive on Thursday in Jerusalem and Ramallah at the end of a longer visit to the region.
Abbas said he intends to once again ask Kushner that the White House commit itself publicly to the two-state solution and demand a halt to construction in the settlements. “I cannot understand how they are dealing with us,” Abbas said, “the Administration is in chaos.”
Gal-On shared with Abbas her concern over his decision to cut payment for electric service in the Gaza Strip, which has had a severe effect on humanitarian conditions there. Abbas responded that as long as Hamas continues to govern Gaza independently, Gazans would continue to suffer.
Needless to say, Gal-On and the Meretz gang did not condemn the Chairman for using more than a million Arabs as hostages in his conflict with his political foes in Gaza.
Regarding security cooperation, which Abbas has severed publicly over the Temple Mount metal detectors fiasco, the Chairman told the Meretz delegation that the PA had recently approached Israel in an attempt to renew the cooperation, and Israel’s response has been, basically, Don’t call us, we’ll call you.