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Report: CIA Fails to Convince Abbas to Engage with Trump Administration

CIA agents reportedly met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in a failed bid to convince him to engage directly with members of the Trump Administration. According to the Israeli report, the meeting took place last week but failed to persuade Abbas to accept a phone call by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The PA leader in December 2017 imposed a blanket boycott on the US administration in response to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Tensions have skyrocketed between the sides since January, when the White House unveiled its Middle East peace plan. The proposal envisions the application of Israeli sovereignty over as much as 30% of the West Bank, which the Palestinians claim in its entirety as part of a future state. The report comes ahead of the July 1 date set by Israeli Prime Binyamin Netanyahu to push ahead with the annexations, although the initiative is now likely to proceed in stages, if at all, given divisions within the Israeli cabinet and apparent trepidation in the White House.