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PA Chief Snubs Visiting Delegation of Republican Lawmakers
'Perhaps the only person who can lead the Palestinian people in talks with Israel while fighting for their rights.' Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Antoine Gyori/Corbis via Getty Images)

PA Chief Snubs Visiting Delegation of Republican Lawmakers

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday refused to meet with a delegation of Republican lawmakers, and instead dispatched PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat. Abbas had been due to address the 31-member GOP delegation led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, but reportedly backed out at the last moment. Notably, the PA chief last week met with a similar delegation of Democratic legislators. “I think it’s because [President Donald Trump] has been awfully hard on Palestinians and very supportive of Israel – which is the right thing to do – and I think [Abbas] saw the Republicans as maybe not worth his time,” Israeli media quoted one US lawmaker as saying. During the meeting, Shtayyeh stressed that, “the peace process needs serious intentions; Israel does not have these intentions and the US is biased toward Israel.” Abbas imposed a boycott on the Trump Administration following its recognition in December 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and has repeatedly denounced the White House’s approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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