Report: Abbas refuses phone call from Kushner

Arab media report that PA chairman refused to speak to Trump’s son-in-law.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Abbas and Kushner
Abbas and Kushner

Arab media reported on Wednesday that Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas had refused a phone call from U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.

According to the report, Abbas’s secretary referred Kushner to a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) representative in Washington. The move came in response to the American threat to close the PLO's mission in Washington.

The U.S. administration has yet to comment on the report.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last weekend put the PLO on notice that he would shut down its mission in Washington, DC, unless the PA sits down for peace negotiations with Israel.

The notice to the PLO came after Tillerson determined that the Palestinians ran afoul of a provision in a U.S. law that says the PLO mission must close if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.

A State Department official said that in September, Abbas crossed that line by calling on the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israelis.

On Tuesday, the PA announced it had suspended meetings with the U.S. following the decision to shut down the PLO mission.

The State Department later clarified that the Trump administration would “like for [the PLO] to be able to keep [their mission] open."

"Shutting down an office -- that's not what we are talking about today. There are some conversations underway," said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

"We're in contact with the Palestinians. As far as I'm aware, the offices" are "open and running right now," stressed Nauert.