TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday said the Trump administration is in “chaos” and the White House’s plans for peace are incomprehensible.
“I don’t even know how they are dealing with us, because his entire administration is in chaos,” Abbas told a delegation of leftwing Israeli lawmakers visiting Ramallah.
“I have met with Trump envoys about 20 times since the beginning of his term as president of the United States,” Abbas said. “Every time they repeatedly stressed to me how much they believe and are committed to a two-state solution and a halt to construction in the settlements. I have pleaded with them to say the same thing to Netanyahu, but they refrained. They said they would consider it, but then they didn’t get back to me.”
He added that it is impossible to know what Trump and his aides have in mind.
His remarks came ahead of the arrival of a delegation of senior Trump aides to Jerusalem and Ramallah on Thursday to jumpstart the peace process.
The U.S. delegation is set to include senior adviser Jared Kushner and Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt. It is slated to meet with leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
According to one White House official, Trump requested that the talks concentrate on finding “a path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, combating extremism [and dealing with] the situation in Gaza, including how to ease the humanitarian crisis there.”
During a meeting with Abbas on Sunday, Meretz leader Zahava Galon expressed concern over the Gaza crisis, which has worsened since the PA cut power to the coastal enclave over disagreements with rival group Hamas.
“I don’t support Hamas or the government that it has established, but the choice of punishing the residents of Gaza by cutting off electricity is not a correct step and is not legitimate at this time,” Galon said. “Another way needs to be found to deprive Hamas of its power without harming civilians.”
Abbas replied that funds for Gaza’s energy would not be restored as long as Hamas remains in power. “We perceive Hamas’ action as an attempt to divide the West Bank and Gaza, and that’s a step that is an expression of political no-confidence in the Palestinian leadership, more than a moral or diplomatic step,” Abbas was quoted saying.
Galon told Abbas that there was “no difference between our ideas as partners for peace.”
Abbas claimed that Israel had no interest in restoring security cooperation with the PA, which Abbas himself stopped after the Temple Mount crisis erupted. After Israel announced the installation of additional security measures, including metal detectors, at the holy site following a terror attack in which an Arab killed two Israeli police officers, an infuriated Abbas said all security measures between his government and Israel would be suspended.
“We recently contacted them to try to resume some kind of cooperation, but they did not respond, which is preventing progress in our relations,” Abbas claimed on Sunday.
The Prime Minister’s Office denied that the PA had made any overtures to resume cooperation.