Abbas welcomes Trump's peace efforts

Amid reports of pessimism among PA leaders, Abbas meets Kushner and says he appreciates his peace efforts.

Elad Benari ,

Kushner and Abbas (archive)
Kushner and Abbas (archive)

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday met in Ramallah with Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's senior advisor, who is visiting the region in an attempt to restart talks between Israel and the PA.

“We highly appreciate President Trump’s efforts to strike a historical peace deal, a statement he repeated more than one time during our meetings in Washington, Riyadh and Bethlehem,” Abbas said at the start of his meeting with Kushner, according to the PA's official Wafa news agency.

"We know that this delegation is working for peace, and we are working with it to achieve what President Trump has called a peace deal. We know that things are difficult and complicated, but there is nothing impossible with good efforts," he added.

According to Wafa, Kushner said that Trump sent his best regards to Abbas and said he is very optimistic about peace prospects.

The meeting between Abbas and Kushner came amid expressions of pessimism by PA officials that Washington's peace efforts could bear fruit.

Ahmed Majdalani, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which Abbas heads, told AFP on Wednesday they were demanding "a clear and frank answer on the position of the administration on the two-state solution and settlements."

"Without a clear American commitment to the two-state solution and stopping settlements and ending the occupation, we don't expect much from this administration," he added.

Earlier this week, Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Palestinian Arabs are still waiting for a "clear vision" from the United States on resuming peace talks with Israel.

Abbas "wants clarity" on the two-state solution, he said.

Also on Thursday, Kushner met Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In a joint video message with Kushner, Netanyahu thanked President Trump and the delegation led by Kushner and special White House envoy Jason Greenblatt for their efforts to pursue peace and stability in the region.