Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas apparently backed out of a meeting with a 31-member GOP delegation at the last minute on Tuesday, sending other senior officials to meet them in his stead.
The incident comes just a week after Abbas met a 41-member Democratic delegation led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), during which he said he would not accept American “dictates.”
Abbas’s P.A. has boycotted the U.S. administration ever since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and then moved the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv in May 2018.
Though PLO General Secretary Saeb Erekat and P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh were sent to meet the Republicans, several legislators opted not to go to Ramallah after Abbas announced his cancellation.
Those who did attend were told by Shtayyeh that “the peace process needs serious intentions. Israel does not have these intentions and the U.S. is biased towards Israel,” according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency.
He also told the legislators that the P.A. demands a two-state solution.
Both delegations were in the country on a trip organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, a group connected to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Abbas did, however, manage to meet on Tuesday with two candidates from Israel’s Democratic Camp electoral bloc, according to The Times of Israel: Knesset member Issawi Frej and Noa Rothman, the granddaughter of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.