Top Trump Aides Meet Abbas in Ramallah

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) and President Donald Trump at the White House May 3. Credit: White House via YouTube.

(JNS.org) President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday night in Ramallah to discuss U.S.-led peace efforts.

U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome also attended the meeting, which the Americans stated was “positive and fruitful.”

Kushner and Abbas “reaffirmed their commitment to advancing President Trump’s goal of a genuine and lasting peace,” but both sides emphasized peace “will take time,” according to a White House statement.

“The meeting has deeply and clearly discussed all the permanent status issues, mainly refugees and prisoners,” said PA spokesman Abu Rdineh, who added, “During the meeting, Kushner told President Abbas that President Trump is committed to reaching a serious peace deal.”

A senior Palestinian official said a preliminary meeting Tuesday with Greenblatt became tense over the issue of the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families, The Times of Israel reported.

According to the official, the PA rejected an American demand to end the terror stipends and insisted on a freeze in Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson walked back a statement that the PA had agreed to end its payments to terrorists’ families.

Wednesday night’s meeting with Abbas followed a meeting earlier in the day between top Trump aides and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“This is an opportunity to pursue our common goals of security, prosperity and peace,” Netanyahu told the Trump aides.

A Palestinian delegation will reportedly travel to Washington, D.C., in July to continue talks with the Trump administration.

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