President Donald Trump’s diplomatic adviser Jason Greenblatt arrives in Israel Monday to try and revive direct peace talks between the Netanyahu government and the Palestinian Authority. Greenblatt is scheduled to meet with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Abbas, but is not expected to offer a new American initiative at this point.
According to the Washington Post, many on the Hill are going to try to cancel US foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, because the PA pays monthly salaries to terrorists sitting in Israeli jails. “President Trump will soon have to decide if confronting the Palestinians on that terrorist incitement is more urgent than pursuing a pathway to peace,” Josh Rogin wrote in the Post Sunday.
In late February, House and Senate Republicans introduced legislation to cut off US aid to the PA. The bill is named after US Army veterans Taylor Allen Force, 28, who was killed in a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv last year. The Arab terrorist who killed him wounded 12 Israelis before killing himself.
Senator Lindsey Graham told a press conference on February 28 that the bill “shines a light on a very real problem. […] Why is the Palestinian Authority paying young Palestinians to commit acts of terror against innocent Americans like Taylor Force or Israelis? The Palestinians need to decide – do they condemn these horrible acts or do they reward them?”
The bill cuts funding “to the Palestinian Authority if they continue their policy of paying monetary rewards to terrorists and their surviving family members,” according to a press release issued by Hill Republicans.
Greenblatt will meet President Reuven Rivlin on Monday, followed by a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer. On Tuesday, Greenblatt will meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and senior officials. On Thursday, Greeblatt will meet with leader of the Knesset opposition Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp).
Greenblatt is traveling with Yael Lempert, an Obama Administration official who stayed on under President trump. Lampert was the architect of the for a 10-year, $38 billion military aid package to Israel.
A few days ago, President Trump spoke by phone with Chairman Abbas and invited him to the White House. Trump told Abbas he believes peace between Israel and the PA can be negotiated, and that the time had come to come for an agreement. Trump suggested such a peace deal would also bring positive changes in the Middle East and the world.