TEL AVIV – A senior Palestinian official slammed the White House Saturday for being full of “settlers,” Hebrew-language media reported.
“We used to say there were settlers in the Israeli coalition borne of the far right that detests Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. But today we say there are settlers inside the White House,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said.
“The administration has adopted the extreme Israeli position to the right of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and which supports the settlements.”
Ashrawi means her comments in a derogatory manner. Settlers refer to Jews living in the West Bank, which is home to some of the holiest sites in Judaism.
Her came as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prepares for a visit to Washington to meet President Donald Trump in May.
A Palestinian delegation will visit Washington later this month for preliminary meetings.
During a phone call with Abbas in March, Trump invited the Palestinian leader to the White House. The two discussed “ways to advance peace throughout the Middle East region, including a comprehensive agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” according to a read-out from the White House.
Following the call, Abbas told U.S. Middle East negotiator Jason Greenblatt he was sure that with Trump backing it, a “historic” peace deal with Israel was possible.
Last week, Abbas warned that he would take “unprecedented steps” to end the rift between his West Bank-ruling Fatah party and Gaza-based terror group Hamas.
“These days, we are in a dangerous and tough situation that requires decisive steps, and we are to take these decisive steps,” Abbas was quoted as saying by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA. “Therefore, we are going to take unprecedented steps in the coming days to end the division.”
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum responded by accusing Abbas of using the upcoming meeting with Trump to exert pressure on the Islamist group, and said that “the language of threats and dictating orders” would not be accepted.