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Abbas: Palestine Still Not Clear On U.S. Peace Plan

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas does not understand President Donald Trump's administration's stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In an Aug. 20 conference with a small delegation from Isrrael's Meretz party -- which lies on the left side of the political spectrum -- Abbas stated that the U.S. supports a two-state resolution to the conflict and that it wants to halt construction in settlements, but the administration refuses to admit it publicly, Haaretz reports.

"I have met with Trump envoys about 20 times since the beginning of his term as president of the United States," Abbas is believed to have said.  His quotes were reported by note-takers who were present at the meeting.

Abbas also expressed frustration over the fact that the U.S. has not yet reached out to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding their position.

"Every time they repeatedly stressed to me how much they believe and are committed to a two-state solution and a halt to construction in the settlements," Abbas said. "I have pleaded with them to say the same thing to Netanyahu, but they refrained. They said they would consider it but then they didn't get back to me."

The Times of Israel reports that despite having met with U.S. envoys over 20 times since Trump's presidential win in November 2016, a spokesperson for Abbas said that he still "wants clarity" on the U.S.' stance on a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

“I don’t even know how they are dealing with us, because his entire administration is in chaos,” Abbas said.

Back in February, Trump said that the U.S. was not dedicated to reaching a two-state solution to the conflict so much as a plan that was acceptable by both sides.  U.S. administrations and international peace efforts have typically advocated a two-state solution, The Times of Israel reports.

According to Haaretz, Abbas' comments come just one week before Trump is set to deploy his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, to Jerusalem and Ramallah on Aug. 24.  He will travel alongside international envoy Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, The Times of Israel reports.

Haaretz reports that Abbas said he plans to directly ask Kushner if the U.S. will confirm its dedication to a two-state solution and to demand an end to settlement construction when he visits Ramallah. Netanyahu, meanwhile, has welcomed the Americans visit to Jerusalem.

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A Washington spokesman told Al-Monitor of the U.S. plans for the peace talks on the condition of anonymity. 

According to the spokesperson, the U.S. is aiming to help resolve conflict and promote peace in the region in three different ways: to facilitate negotiations on all Israeli-Palestinian permanent status issues; to improve relations in areas such as security cooperation, settlement construction, economic cooperation and violence resistance; and to open a discussion among Middle Eastern national security experts over anti-terror measures.

Al-Monitor reports that the countries the U.S. would like to be involved in the negotiations and security discussions with Israel and Palestine are Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. 

Sources: Haaretz, The Times of Israel, Al-Monitor / Featured Image: Olivier Pacteau/Flickr / Embedded Images: The White House/Flickr, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr

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