PA gives up on settlement freeze as a precondition for negotiations with Israel

According to an adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority will temporarily give up on their demand for a settlement freeze as a precondition for negotiations with Israel, as well as reduce their efforts to take Israel to the International Criminal Court. After meeting with US President Donald Trump a few times, it appears Abbas may be ready to compromise for peace talks with Israel.
Abbas will reportedly give up settlement freeze precondition Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

According to Bloomberg news agency, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud will temporarily give up his demand to freeze settlement construction as a pre-condition for negotiations. Mohammad Mustafa, Abbas’s senior economic adviser and former deputy prime minister added that the Palestinians would also drawback on their efforts to sue Israel for war crimes at the International Criminal Court at the UN, all done in an effort to allow the US administration an opportunity to begin its peace plan.

“We have not made the settlements an up-front issue this time,” Mustafa said in an interview with the news agency this past Monday at his office in Ramallah. “We think it’s better for all of us right now to focus on giving this new administration a chance to deliver.”

Since being sworn in in January, Trump has reiterated his position that he intends to achieve a deal that will solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since then, the president met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas in Washington as well as recently in Israel and Ramallah, where he discussed the need to advance the peace process. Trump even appointed Jason Greenblatt as the US Special Representative for International Negotiations and has met with senior officials from both sides quite a few times.

As previously reported by JOL, the meeting between Trump and Abbas in Ramallah was reportedly "unpleasant" and the US president accused the Palestinian leader of being involved in incitement against Israel. Yet, it appears US pressure is working and that both sides understand there is no choice but to compromise. Before Trump arrived in Israel, the Israeli Cabinet approved a series of economic easements for the Palestinian public, which was later presented to and accepted by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during a meeting with Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

Furthermore, this week Israel approved the construction of 2,000 new housing units in the West Bank, some of which are outside the settlement blocs. Consistently, the current White House administration has regarded the building of settlements not as an obstacle to peace, but rather as a matter that should be heavily restrained in order to ultimately achieve a solution.

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