Despite a friendly meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. President Donald Trump, the PA continued its $300 million in payments to terrorists and the families of terrorists killed while carrying out their atrocities.
The bulk of this payment, in the 2016 budget, came from American and European aid as well as from the Palestinian’s regional allies.
Nabil Shaath, Abbas’ foreign affairs adviser, accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of introducing pre-conditions to territorial negotiations, while expecting Abbas to come to the negotiating table without pre-conditions. He argued that the issue should be a matter for negotiation.
Netanyahu, however, had framed the payments to terrorists, one third of whom are in prison for murder, more as a test of the underlying intentions of the Palestinians.
“I think the first test of peace is to say to them, ‘Hey, you want peace? Prove it. Confront terrorism, stop rewarding terrorism, stop paying its terrorists,’” Netanyahu said prior to the Palestinian Authority delegation’s visit to Washington. “It could be more than a billion dollars that is given to terrorists. I’m not talking about Hamas. I’m talking about the mainline Palestinian Authority headed by the president, who is going to see Trump in Washington.”
Meanwhile veteran Jerusalem Post reporter Caroline Glick argued that “Abbas’s PLO and his Palestinian Authority engage as a general practice in glorifying terrorist murderers.”
Glick, in her article, described the meeting as “Trump’s tragic mistake,” citing three major reasons.
“First, the peace process between Israel and the PLO is predicated on the notion that the U.S. must pressure Israel to make massive concessions to the PLO. So simply by engaging in a negotiating process with the PLO, Trump has adopted an antagonistic position toward Israel.
“The second problem is that Abbas himself has proven, repeatedly, that he will never support a peace deal with Israel.
“The third problem with Trump’s decision to engage in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is that any hypothetical deal a hypothetical Palestinian leader would accept, would endanger Israel’s very existence.”
Shaath said he was pleasantly surprised by the meeting with Trump.
“He was very warm, respectful, gave equal treatment to our president, like he’s given to other heads of state that he’s met.”
Trump was also optimistic, saying of an Israel-Palestinian peace deal, “We will get it done!”
After meeting Trump in Washington, Abbas said he is willing to meet with Netanyahu. Trump, who will be on his first overseas visit as president, will visit Israel from May 22 to 23. He will also stop in Saudi Arabia and the Vatican as an expression of his desire to connect with nations central to the three great monotheistic religions, Islam, Judaism and Christianity (Roman Catholicism).
Abbas said that he is “looking forward” to seeing Trump in Bethlehem, although a presidential visit there has not been confirmed.
“We told him that we were ready to collaborate with him and meet the Israeli prime minister under his auspices to build peace,” Abbas told reporters.
Abbas has insisted that a Palestinian state should be based on Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Trump, however, has not committed himself to a two-state solution and broke with U.S. norms earlier this year by starting that he is open to a solution amenable to both parties without America imposing a solution.
Netanyahu has said that no peace agreement is possible without the Palestinians renouncing violence.
“In those days and at that time,
when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will gather all nations
and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
There I will put them on trial
for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel,
because they scattered my people among the nations
and divided up my land.”