Trump to Ask Abbas to Stop Paying Families of Palestinian Terrorists

The two leaders are scheduled to meet at the White House on Wednesday. Trump is expected to seek Abbas' commitment to a reboot of the peace process

A woman mourns near the grave of Eitam and Na'ama Henkin, who were shot and killed while driving through the West Bank with their children, after their funeral in Jerusalem October 2, 2015.
Baz Ratner/Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump will ask Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at their meeting on Wednesday to stop payments to families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis, a senior White House official told Haaretz.

The two will meet on Wednesday afternoon at the White House (Israel time).

Abbas arrived to Washington on Tuesday and will stay for three days. He is also expected to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, senators, congressmen and representatives of Jewish organizations.

A senior White House official told Haaretz on Tuesday night that Trump will seek Abbas' commitment to a reboot of the peace process.

“The president personally believes that peace is possible, and that the time has come to make that deal,” the official said. “The president has noted that such a deal would not only give Israelis and Palestinians the peace and security they deserve, but that it would also reverberate positively throughout the region and the world.”

In an interview with Fox News a week and a half ago, Netanyahu demanded that the Palestinians stop these payments if they wished to show that they really wanted peace. On Monday, during a ceremony on Israeli Memorial Day, Netanyahu also addressed the issue.

“President Abbas, who is going this week to meet with President Trump, how can you speak of peace with Israel and at the same time fund murderers who spill the blood of innocent Israelis at every turn?” Netanyahu said. “You want to take a real step for peace that we want? Stop the payments to murderers. Cancel the law that requires payments to these murderers. Fund peace, not murder.”

The Palestinians have expressed optimism ahead of the meeting. Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu-Rudeineh, said the Palestinian president would stress the need for advancing a process based on a two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative, the 2002 proposal that was ratified once again at the Arab League summit in late March.

The White House official said advancing the Middle East peace process and achieving a peace agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a top priority for Trump.