Trump Administration Expresses Support for Historic Step in Palestinian Reconciliation

Palestinian envoy to Washington says his people are optimistic and responds negatively to reports that Israel is pressuring the U.S. to expel his delegation

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L-R: Yahya Sinwar, Majid Faraj, Ismail Haniyeh and Rami Hamdallah sit during a meeting in Gaza City October 2, 2017.
L-R: Yahya Sinwar, Majid Faraj, Ismail Haniyeh and Rami Hamdallah sit during a meeting in Gaza City October 2, 2017.Credit: HANDOUT/AFP
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

The Trump administration on Monday expressed support for Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's visit to Gaza and stated that any Palestinian government will have to adhere to the terms of the international Quartet: commitment to nonviolence and negotiations, recognition of Israel and acceptance of prior agreements with it.

A statement by Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy for the peace process, says in part, "The United States welcomes efforts to create the conditions for the Palestinian Authority to fully assume its responsibilities in Gaza." Greenblatt has expressed a similar position several times in recent weeks.

Earlier on Monday, the Palestinian Authority's top diplomat in the United States, Ambassador Husam Zomlot, said in a briefing to journalists in Washington that the Palestinians were optimistic following the meeting two weeks ago between Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which created "a new sense of hope" for peace negotiations.

Zomlot added that the Trump administration was considering new plans to invest in and encourage the Palestinian economy. Zomlot urged the administration to express support for the two-state solution. He did not disclose new details about Trump's plans for peace.

The ambassador also responded to reports that emerged last week that Israel would ask the U.S. to shut down the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, which he heads. In a video posted to the delegation's Twitter account, Zomlot emphasized that his mission is a testament to the strong relationship between the U.S. and the Palestinians and that it has operated in Washington under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The video also included a photo of Zomlot shaking hands with President Trump in the White House.