PA officials 'frustrated' Trump won't commit to two states

Palestinian Arab officials continue to insist on clarity to Trump administration's approach to peace process with Israel.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Kushner meets Abbas in Ramallah (archive)
Kushner meets Abbas in Ramallah (archive)

Palestinian Arab officials continued to express frustration on Friday over the fact the U.S. still has not committed to a two-state solution, even after a meeting described as productive between President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah on Thursday.

“We have clearly emphasized to the Americans the importance of having a public statement that has a commitment to the two-state solution,” Ashraf Khatib, a spokesman for the negotiation affairs department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told the Washington Post on Friday. “There hasn’t been any.”

“We have told the Americans that we are committed to the American effort,” Khatib said. “We’ve also told the Americans that we want clarity on their approach.”

“Without a vision it will be negotiations for negotiations sake,” he opined.

Kushner met with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, who said he highly appreciated Trump's peace efforts.

“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.

Even before the meeting, PA officials expressed pessimism 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.

State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert explained earlier this week that committing to a two-state solution would “bias” the outcome of a peace agreement between Israel and the PA.

“We want to work toward a peace that both sides can agree to and that both sides find sustainable. We believe that both parties should be able to find a workable solution that works for both of them.”

Therefore, she continued, “We are not going to state what the outcome has to be. It has to be workable to both sides. And I think, really, that’s the best view as to not really bias one side over the other, to make sure that they can work through it. It’s been many, many decades, as you well know, that the parties have not been able to come to any kind of good agreement and sustainable solution to this. So we leave it up to them to be able to work that through.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)