Abbas: “I don’t understand” chaotic Trump administration

The Palestinian Authority (PA) President has said that he does not understand the behaviour of the US administration.

Speaking to a delegation from Israel’s Meretz party, President Mahmoud Abbas is reported to have said he “can’t understand how they are conducting themselves with us… there is chaos in the administration”.

He also said: “I have met with [US President Donald] Trump’s envoys about 20 times since the beginning of his term as President of the United States. Every time they repeatedly stressed to me how much they believe and are committed to a two-state solution and a halt to construction in the settlements. I have pleaded with them to say the same thing to Netanyahu, but they refrained.”

A delegation from the Trump administration including Senior Presidential advisor Jared Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell are due to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah on Thursday. Abbas has said he intends to ask Kushner for the White House to make a statement expressing their commitment to the two-state solution and demanding Israeli settlement construction be halted.

Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon, MK Esawi Freige, party general secretary Mossi Raz and Galon’s diplomatic adviser, former Ambassador Ilan Baruch all attended the meeting with Abbas at his Muqata headquarters in Ramallah, where the situation in Gaza and security coordination between Israel and the PA were also discussed.

Galon expressed his concern over “punishing the residents of Gaza by cutting off electricity” and said that “another way needs to be found to deprive Hamas of its power without harming civilians”. Abbas responded that Hamas needs to cease its “attempt to divide the West Bank and Gaza”.

In related news, a Palestinian man attempted to stab Israeli security forces at Tapuah Junction in the northern West Bank on Saturday before being shot and killed. A Facebook post prior to the incident asked his parents for forgiveness, saying he wanted to die a shahid (martyr).

In another terror incident, a 21-year-old Palestinian man was arrested with a concealed knife in the city of Netanya. The man was illegally in Israel and later admitted his intention to carry out a stabbing attack.

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