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Abbas: Peace Talks Questionable While ‘US Administration is in Chaos’

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21 Aug 2017 (All day)
Abbas: Peace Talks Questionable While ‘US Administration is in Chaos’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke out over the weekend ahead of an upcoming regional tour by senior members of the Trump Administration in the US, saying that the internal problems plaguing the White House will make it difficult for any progress to be made in the near term. “I don’t understand how they are going to conduct themselves with us, given that within their own nation, the administration is in chaos,” Abbas said.

“I have met with [US President Donald] Trump’s emissaries to the Middle East about 20 times since the start of his tenure,” Abbas added during a meeting with visiting MKs from Israel’s Far-Left Meretz Faction. “Each time, they have emphasized their commitment and allegiance to the two-state solution and to the cessation of building in the settlements. I have urged them to say the same thing to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, but they have refrained from doing so. I am not sure what this means with regard to the continuation of the talks or with regard to the results of the upcoming visit.”

Jared Kushner, senior advisor and son-in-law to US President Donald Trump, along with special envoy Jason Greenblatt and US Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell will be visiting Israel, the PA territories, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt during their upcoming visit.

Abbas also said he was considering gradually reducing all funding to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip until Hamas submits to a process of reconciliation with the PA.

“We transfer $1.5 billion a year [to Hamas in Gaza]…we’ll gradually reduce our [financial] support to Gaza by 100%,” he declared.

The statement came a day after PA Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki told journalists at a press conference in Cairo with his Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts that Egypt’s improved relations with Hamas opened the door for reconciliation efforts.

"It is not new or controversial for Egypt to do its part and fulfill its mandate in these negotiations ... it must communicate with Hamas in order for the group to mesh with the overall Arab stance," Al-Maliki said.

Palestinian Refugee Camp in Lebanon Rocked by Clashes
Ain Al Hilweh, Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp located near the southern Port of Sidon, was the scene of fierce street battles over the weekend as security forces took on jihadist groups battling for control of the camps. Gunman from the Islamist terror militia, Badr, initiated the hostilities by opening fire on security forces Thursday evening, with rocket and small arms fire being traded over the weekend, leaving at least two people dead.

Israel invests in Arab Sector
Israel’s Labor and Social Services Ministry announced recently that it is investing NIS 15 million in a project to recruit and train at least 1,500 Arab citizens into the booming hi-tech sector of the economy. “We want to see more and more young men and women from the Arab sector integrating into hi-tech industries,” Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz said. “This will contribute to their well-being and help narrow the gaps in Israeli society.”

Chinese Students Flocking to Israeli Universities
As students and teachers head back to school this fall, Israeli universities are noting a growing number of Chinese citizens studying in the Jewish State. A large number of these students are studying at Haifa University and the Technion, under an exchange program with the University of East China Normal University in Shanghai, which is a sister-city of Haifa.

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