PA Open to Russian-mediated Talks with Israel
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has opened the door for jump-starting peace negotiations with Israel if they are mediated by Russia and not the United States. “We trust President Vladimir Putin and are sure that such a meeting [with Israeli leaders] would bear fruit and succeed in getting us back to the talks, as well as stopping the Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank,” Maliki was quoted by Arab media as saying. He also accused Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of twice derailing the prospect of Russia taking the lead in the peace process. The PA is vehemently opposed to the White House’s peace proposal, which envisions Israel applying sovereignty over about 30% of the West Bank. The Palestinians claim the entire territory as part of a future state. PA President Mahmoud Abbas imposed a boycott on the Trump Administration following the US president’s recognition in December 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and has since campaigned for other nations to displace Washington as the primary intermediary between the PA and the Israeli government. He has gone so far as to declare all past agreements with Israel null and void. Last month, reports surfaced that Moscow was attempting to arrange a “mini summit” in Geneva with a view to mending frayed relations between the PA and US. The meeting would include representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.