Report: Abbas to Drop Demand for Settlement Construction Freeze

June 11, 2017

< 1 min read

Amid the Trump administration’s Mideast peace push, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas will temporarily shelve his longtime demand that Israel freeze construction in Judea and Samaria as a precondition for reviving negotiations with Israel, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.

Abbas has also purportedly expressed willingness to tone down his campaigns to prosecute Israel for alleged war crimes and to pursue anti-Israel initiatives at the United Nations, said Mohammad Mustafa, Abbas’s senior economic adviser and former deputy prime minister.

“We have not made the settlements an up-front issue this time,” Mustafa said. “We think it’s better for all of us right now to focus on giving this new administration a chance to deliver.”

An additional prominent aide to Abbas, Mohammad Shtayyeh, said President Donald Trump earned the Palestinians’ trust with his June 1 postponement of relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“There is a new dynamic. The embassy issue is behind us,” Shtayyeh said, adding, “With this administration, the White House is engaged and that’s a huge difference…That doesn’t mean I’m optimistic. Don’t misunderstand.”

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