Setting preconditions for talks, the PA will give the US negotiating team, arriving this week in the Middle East in an attempt to revive the peace process, 45 days to support their terms for a two-state solution.
The Palestinians will present President Donald Trump’s negotiating team with an ultimatum at their upcoming meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will arrive in the region on Thursday accompanied by special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser. The team, hoping to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah before heading to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt.
The ultimatum states that unless progress is made within 45 days on launching talks with the Israelis, the Palestinians will consider themselves no longer committed to the US mediation and will turn to an alternative plan to push for unilateral United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state.
Elderly Abbas Running Out of Time
A senior Palestinian source told Shlomi Eldar, a senior Palestinian affairs reporter writing for Al-Monitor, that Abbas, 82, is running out of the time and cannot waste it on “games.”
Abbas is demanding that Trump publicly declare the two-state solution as the only solution and that he insist Israel “stop creating facts on the ground” through construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
Trump has said he would accept any solution that would resolve the conflict. “Looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” he said in February, at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.
“If we don’t hear within a month and a half that the American team has stopped talking and started doing, Abbas intends to mobilise anyone and everyone he can for the UN General Assembly session on the establishment of a Palestinian state, regardless of the Israeli and American reactions,” the official told Al-Monitor.
The “united Arab position,” Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki had stated, is that “there will be no peace without the establishment of a Palestinian state within the ’67 borders.”
Palestinian Official: These Are Not Empty Threats
Abbas expressed frustration with the US on Sunday, saying he has met with the American representatives 20 times since Trump took office in January but still had no clear vision of what type of peace plan they had in mind.
“I don’t understand their conduct toward us, as inside his country the administration is in chaos,” Abbas was quoted as saying in a dig to Trump.
The Palestinian official who spoke with Al-Monitor said that although the PA’s belligerent course of action could result in serious damage to its relationship with Washington, these were not empty threats and the ultimatum to the US had been carefully considered.