Palestinians to Tell Trump Envoy They Want a U.S. Brokered Peace Plan With Israel

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Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas checks his watch before a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 4, 2015.
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas checks his watch before a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 4, 2015. Credit: AFP PHOTO/ ABBAS MOMANI

At the meeting Monday in Ramallah between U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior foreign policy adviser Jason Greenblatt and the Palestinian leadership, the Palestinians will make it clear they are interested in the Trump administration presenting its own peace plan, Palestinian Authority officials told Haaretz.

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The negotiations must provide hope that in the end a formula will be reached to end the occupation, because the atmosphere on the Palestinian street  is that no solution is on the horizon, and that the Netanyahu government entrenching the occupation and Israeli control over the West Bank, Palestinian officials said.

"The Trump administration must act out of  a clear interest that the agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is a supreme goal from a national security standpoint for all the sides, and not because it is good for the Palestinians," a senior Palestinian security official told Haaretz.

This approach was raised in the discussions that Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj held a month ago in Washington with senior U.S. security and intelligence officials, said the official. "There is no vacuum," and without true progress in negotiations toward an agreement, it will only serve to aid organizations such as Hamas and countries such as Iran, added the official.

His Palestinian position has been raised before in meetings with the Trump administration as well as in contacts in advance of an expected meeting between Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Trump and Abbas agreed to such a meeting when the two spoke on the phone for the first time last Friday.

One of the questions raised in recent days is what will be the Trump administration’s opening position for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, said the Palestinian officials. “We are still at the stage of probing and initial contacts but we are interested that the [Trump] administration will advance an overall deal, and we have made our position clear that if this version or deal leads within a short, limited and agreed upon period of time to a permanent agreement that will guarantee the existence of a Palestinian state alongside Israel within the 1967 borders, and the end of the occupation, then we are ready to discuss the mechanisms and means to achieve this goal,” a Palestinian official told Haaretz.

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At a press conference in Washington last month with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said he had no preference between a one-state and two-state solution, and that the solution was up to the two sides.

Abbas has said a number of times that the renewal of the talks with Israel must be based on what was agreed to with former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the end of the last round of talks, including a freeze on construction in the settlements and the release of the fourth round of pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The release of these prisoners is a matter of principle, though other matters must be included too, such as the daily arrests conducted by Israel, said a Palestinian security official.

Any progress in the peace negotiations depends on Israel’s willingness to end the occupation and implement a two-state solution, Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of the Fatah central committee, told Haaretz.

At the Arab League summit to be held at the end of this month in Jordan, the Palestinians will seek backing for their position that the only solution on the table for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the two-state solution, to be based on international resolutions and the Arab League peace initiative, Haaretz has learned.

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