Abbas snubs visiting Republican delegation

PA chairman fails to show up at meeting with visiting Republican congressional delegation, sends other officials to meet the group.

Ben Ariel ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas snubbed a Republican congressional delegation on Tuesday, despite meeting with a similar group of Democratic members last week, The Jewish Insider reports.

The 31 Republican members of Congress were scheduled to meet with Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday as part of a weeklong trip organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of AIPAC.

Abbas did not show up at the meeting, instead sending other PA officials to meet the group. A source familiar with the trip confirmed that the delegation met instead with PLO General Secretary Saeb Erekat and PA cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh.

A representative for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is leading the Republican trip, did not respond to a request for comment.

Abbas met a delegation of lawmakers from the Democratic party last week. At that meeting, he emphatically declared that the PA is not prepared to accept dictates from the US administration, and added that peace can only be promoted using the two-state solution.

The PA has boycotted the US since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December of 2017 and has rejected the Administration’s peace plan on the grounds that it is biased in Israel’s favor.

A recent report in Israel indicated that PA officials are re-thinking their boycott of the US administration. Abbas later made clear that relations with the current US administration will not resume unless Trump "recognizes the source of authority for the peace process and UN resolutions and accepts the two-state solution."

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) told The Jewish Insider on Tuesday he opted to skip the Ramallah portion of the delegation’s trip to the region after he learned Abbas would not be attending.

“He cancelled on the Republicans,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’s because the administration has been awfully hard on Palestinians and very supportive of Israel — which is the right thing to do — and I think he saw the Republicans as maybe not worth his time.”