First Published: 2017-08-23

Palestinians demand two-state pledge from Trump
Palestinian President Abbas reportedly told Israeli politicians recently that despite more than 20 meetings, he was still unclear what Trump's strategy was.
Middle East Online

Trump broke with longstanding US policy by saying he would be happy with either an apartheid state or a two-state solution.

RAMALLAH - Donald Trump's team must commit to the two-state solution and opposing illegal settlement construction before the US president's peace push will move forward, Palestinian officials said Wednesday.

Trump's envoys, including special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt and his son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner, have been ferrying between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in recent months in attempts to restart direct talks between the sides.

The two men are due to arrive again Wednesday night but Palestinian officials have become increasingly frustrated with the administration and pessimistic about chances of a breakthrough.

President Mahmud Abbas reportedly told Israeli leftwing politicians recently that despite more than 20 meetings he was unclear what Trump's strategy was.

Ahmed Majdalani, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation which Abbas heads, said they were demanding "a clear and frank answer on the position of the administration on the two-state solution and settlements."

"Without a clear American commitment to the two-state solution and stopping settlements and ending the occupation we don't expect much from this administration."

Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Abbas's Fatah party, said they would be demanding a clear commitment from Kushner and Greenblatt to an independent Palestinian state.

"We hope that the American administration and the envoys of President Donald Trump that will meet tomorrow with president Mahmud Abbas will announce the American administration's adoption of the two-state solution to move the peace process forward," he said.

"It is time for President Trump to pay serious attention to the establishment of a Palestinian state."

Kushner and other US officials met on Tuesday evening with Jordan's King Abdullah II.

The kingdom is a key player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the palace said in a statement Abdullah, Kushner and Greenblatt stressed the need to start "serious and effective peace negotiations" on the "basis of the two-state solution."

Previous US governments have committed to an independent Palestinian state, but in February Trump broke with longstanding US policy by saying he would be happy with either a one-state or two-state solution if the parties were happy.

Palestinians fear that a 'one-state solution' would manifest as apartheid and entrench Israel's illegal colonial project on internationally recognized Palestinian land.

The US administration has also sought to protect Israel at the United Nations from criticism of its illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Omar al-Ghoul, a Palestinian political analyst, said there was little optimism from the Palestinian leadership.

"The level of optimism from the Palestinian leadership and people towards the Trump administration is zero," he said.

"There is not a glimmer of hope the administration will change its politics and positions."


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