Palestinians: Team Trump asked for “3 – 4 Months to Prepare Peace Plan”
Prior to last week’s visit by the Trump peacemaking team, Palestinian leaders and populace were skeptical of President Trump’s bona fides as honest broker: an assessment that resulted from the unprecedented “over-the-top” support for the Jewish state that was part of the candidate’s play book and his surrogates’ speaking points during the campaign. Once in office, the series of turn-arounds from the most sensational promises – moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem; recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem; green-lighting settlement building – were sufficiently significant to peak the Palestinians’ interest in how the new president would pursue “the ultimate deal.” Now, following a peace mission at least one media source said was typified by its lack of leaks, the Palestinian media has provided a first look at what transpired when Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Dina Powell visited Ramallah. Longtime leader and foreign affairs adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Sha’ath, appearing on Voice of Palestine Radio reported that the Trump team offered no indication of its position on specific issues but rather asked for “3 to 4 months in which to put together a peace plan.” The Palestinians reiterated their demands for how the process should be constructed, emphasizing the insistence that the working premise be two-states, pre-1967 borders, capital in Jerusalem, and settlement of core issues including the so-called “right of return.” The Palestinians are also demanding that the PA be allowed to aggressively pursue economic development in what the Oslo Accords labeled “Area C,” – the sections of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli administrative and security control. There are mixed versions about the Israeli demand – at one point strongly backed by Team Trump – that the PA end its stipends to families of those killed while attacking Israelis. The Americans deny the subject came up while the Israelis reported that the Palestinians admonished that they have no intention of ending the practice.