The leaders of the Palestinian Authority were not excited, to say the least, that President Trump announced an interest in renewing the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. According the leaders of the PA, in the 17 years since the beginning of the peace talks, there has been very little progress. They are referring to progress in terms of the economic, and not just the military, situation for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Palestinian senior officials have emphasized that the PA will only accept a solution in which Israel withdraws to the pre-1967 borders and east Jerusalem becomes the capital of the future Palestinian State.
Mohammed Ashtia, economics commissioner of the PA, and other PLO senior members have said that the Palestinians are interested in finding a solution because life under the occupation has been difficult, according to an interview with Maariv on Saturday. “The test for this administration is to end the attacks by the settlers that have been tolerated by this Israeli government, declaring support for a two-state solution and an end to the occupation. The first thing in the peace process is to build trust and the second is peace process itself.”
According to the Palestinian officials, “The US, Israeli and Palestinian governments must start from the beginning because the solution is to bring about two independent states, a statement that has not been heard from the administration of President Trump. We understand that America has priorities that include North Korea and domestic issues. Prime Minster Netanyahu also has domestic issues to deal with as well. However, President Trump must acknowledge the need to end the construction of settlements. And he must create a dialogue to connect the economy with politics, because Israel purposely damages the Palestinian economy in order to cause suffering o the Palestinian people.”
Security General of the PLO’s Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, met yesterday morning with the American Consul in Jerusalem and the Russian ambassador to the PA.
Erekat requested to maintain meetings with the diplomat. “The [diplomatic] quartet [on the Middle East] must do everything possible to emphasize that the final solution includes a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders, delegitimizing all the settlements including east Jerusalem and enforcing the international law.”