Erekat: Abbas respects Kushner

Senior PA official changes tune on U.S., denies Abbas refused call from Trump's son-in-law

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Flash 90

A Palestinian Authority (PA) official is denying a report this week that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas refused a phone call from Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Haaretz reported Friday.

The Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV reported this week that instead of taking Kushner's call, Abbas referred him to the Palestinian Authority's representative in Washington.

The move reportedly came in response to the American threat to close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) mission in Washington.

Former PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the report was completely false, adding the PA chairman respects and appreciates Kushner.

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."

Erekat himself had threatened on Saturday that the PLO would cut off all its contacts with the United States if it shuts down the Washington mission.

(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.)