Adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas tells Bloomberg that Abbas means to scale back diplomatic campaign against Israel • “We think it’s better to give this new [U.S.] administration a chance to deliver,” says Mohammad Mustafa.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will shelve his demand that Israel freeze all construction in Judea and Samaria if peace talks are relaunched, as a gesture to U.S. President Donald Trump, the Bloomberg news agency reported Thursday.
Mohammad Mustafa, a former deputy PA prime minister and a close adviser to Abbas, told the news agency that Abbas, 82, intended to call a partial halt to the diplomatic onslaught against Israel in international institutions.
Abbas does not intend to make the settlements an “up-front issue” at this stage, Mustafa told Bloomberg, adding that “we think it’s better … to focus on giving this new administration a chance to deliver.”
Abbas has always conditioned direct peace talks with Israel on a freeze to all settlement construction, a policy previous U.S. administrations were happy to back.
Last month, Israel Hayom revealed that during a meeting in Washington, Trump made it clear to Abbas that if the PA persisted in imposing preconditions on peace talks with Israel, the Trump administration would prioritize a regional peace plan for normalization of ties between Israel and the Gulf Arab nations, even if the Palestinian-Israeli issue remained unresolved.
In March, Abbas told Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s chief Middle East peace negotiator, that the new president could help broker a deal that would bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Bloomberg reported that Abbas, speaking to Greenblatt, underscored his commitment to “an atmosphere that is conducive to making peace.”