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Arab League chief says PA to present “new plan” at upcoming summit

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The head of the Arab league has said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will present a “new plan” at the upcoming Arab League summit in Jordan.

Speaking to the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper yesterday, Secretary-General Ahmad Abul Ghaith said: “There is a desire on the Palestinian side to reformulate some ideas… They [the Palestinians] promised to put forward a new plan pertaining to the Palestinian issue in general.”

There was no confirmation from PA officials over a new plan. Ahmad Majdalani, said to be a confidante of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, told the Jerusalem Post that Abbas “will affirm his support for the two-state solution, continued action in international forums, and the need for the Arab world to treat the Palestinian issue as the main regional issue”.

During the last week, Abbas has met with Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Also yesterday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that progress has been made in talks between Israeli and American officials over reaching an agreement on West Bank settlement construction. Speaking to reporters before returning to Israel from an official visit to China, Netanyahu said: “The talks have not been completed, but there is progress and we will hear about it when we reach Israel.”

However, Haaretz and Channel Two report that President Trump’s Administration has demanded that Israel place significant restrictions on building in the West Bank. According to the reports, Trump’s special envoy Jason Greenblatt told Netanyahu last week, during a visit to the region, that Washington would tacitly accept construction in East Jerusalem and recognised major settlement blocs in the West Bank, but no building outside of these areas.

This could prove particularly problematic regarding Netanyahu’s recent public pledge that he will build a new settlement to house the recently evacuated residents of Amona.

Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff Yoav Horowitz and other Israeli officials travelled to Washington this week to continue discussions with Greenblatt.