Abbas will try to bypass Trump

PA chairman plans in coming weeks to receive European sponsorship for negotiations with Israel - among other reasons, to annoy the US.

Nitzan Keidar,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will arrive in France on Wednesday and hold a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron in an attempt to secure European sponsorship of negotiations with Israel, instead of negotiations led by the United States.

The London-based Arabic-language Al-Hayat newspaper quoted a Palestinian Authority official as saying that Abbas would ask European leaders to recognize a Palestinian state and convene a peace conference under international auspices.

France has been a convenient place in the past for the PA to produce initiatives to bypass the US administration. In the past, France threatened to recognize a Palestinian state unilaterally and even convened an alternative peace summit, which failed to create a new agenda, and even in hindsight was considered a failure.

The current French administration reiterates at every opportunity that it is committed to the two-state solution, but it is doubtful that it will be the one to take the step which would manifest a challenge to the US, which declares that it has been working on a Middle East peace plan.

At the same time, Abbas intends to appeal to other European leaders during the UN General Assembly to try to persuade them, against the background of the tension between the EU and the US, to promote a parallel peace plan, and thus to make the Americans even more angry after they recently presented a series of blows to the PA over its refusal to negotiate - including the cessation of UNRWA funding, the cutback in aid to the PA, the freezing of its bank accounts in the US and the closing of the PLO's representation in Washington.

The US administration is not responding to these initiatives at the moment. The Israeli political establishment believes that no European country will want to take over the peace plan as long as the US administration does not despair of it.