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Palestinian Delegation to Travel to Washington Ahead of Trump-Abbas Meeting

posted on: Apr 7, 2017

By Jack Khoury

A senior Palestinian delegation is to leave in the next few days for Washington as part of the preparations for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ White House meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, a senior Palestinian official told Haaretz.

A date for the meeting has yet to be confirmed, but Trump invited Abbas to Washington during a phone call the two held last month.

The delegation will consist of Saeb Erekat, who is in charge of the peace negotiations, Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj and Mohammad Mustafa, chairman of the Palestinian investment fund.

A senior Palestinian official said the three officials, who are in charge of security, diplomacy and economy, are to “meet senior administration officials and Trump’s team.”

The Palestinian Authority expects to be briefed by Egypt and Jordan in the next few days about their meetings with Trump in Washington this week. Palestinian officials have higher expectations from Trump’s meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah than from his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.

They believe that beyond the official position presented at the last Arab League summit, for Jordan, advancing the peace process with Israel is a matter of national security.

“Jordan’s population is predominantly Palestinian and any strategic decision regarding the peace process has direct repercussions for the kingdom,” the official said.

As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the Palestinian issue will be a central subject in the conversations in the White House, in addition to “acute regional issues, mainly the developments in Syria and Iraq,” he said.

The Palestinian leadership is pinning hopes on the Trump administration, but says it hasn’t yet presented its position or a formula of how to proceed.

“We have to hear from Trump and the administration what they propose,” the official told Haaretz.

He added that despite the impression that the Republican Party is more conservative and pro-Israeli than the Democratic Party, it was during George W. Bush’s administration, not [Bill] Clinton’s, that the establishment of the Palestinian state’s institutions started.