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Trump to Abbas: Return to Negotiations...Deal of the Century will Surprise You

Trump to Abbas: Return to Negotiations...Deal of the Century will Surprise You

Saturday, 20 October, 2018 - 11:30
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Reuters file photo
Tel Aviv - Nazir Majli
In a remarkable development, US President Donald Trump sent a personal envoy to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with a message described as "positive," suggesting that he return to negotiations with his Middle East staff.

The envoy, US Jewish businessman Ronald Lauder, told Abbas the deal “promises to surprise you for the best.”

At the same time, the president's Special Representative, Jason Greenblatt, advised Hamas to change its political positions.

Israeli sources revealed that Trump sent Lauder, who is also the President of World Jewish Congress and a former close associate of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to Ramallah to meet with the president's advisers without the knowledge of the Israeli authorities.

Lauder met with the chief Palestinian negotiator, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Executive Committee Saeb Erekat, and the head of the intelligence service of the Authority, Majid Faraj.

The source described the message conveyed by the Special Envoy to the Palestinian officials close to Abbas as "surprising" and focused on trying to persuade the president, through his advisers, to work with the Trump administration and told him he would be positively surprised by the US administration’s yet to be unveiled peace plan. 

In September, Trump said that he would announce "the details of the deal over the next three months."

Hebrew newspaper "Israel Hayom" disclosed that the US president seeks to announce his plan for the settlement of the Palestinian issue, known in media as the "Deal of the Century," in January, and that the Israeli PM is trying to prevent that from happening.

Meanwhile, Special Representative Greenblatt advised Hamas to change its political positions.

Addressing the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya al-Sinwar, Greenblatt said Hamas “needs to embrace change, to embrace the values Mr. Sinwar professes to revere: democracy, pluralism, cooperation, human rights, and freedom.”

In an article published in the Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post, Greenblatt noted that such values do not exist in Gaza.

“How is Hamas helping its youth realize their vast potential? Peace will give the youth an opportunity to develop their talents, which Mr. Sinwar rightly points out are stifled by the situation in Gaza,” continued Greenblatt.

He indicated that if Hamas no longer wants to be regarded as an “armed terrorist organization, we and others around the world have made it clear what Hamas’ next steps must be: renounce violence, recognize Israel, and accept previous agreements.”

He told Hamas to show the world it actually cares for the Palestinians and allow the Palestinian Authority to return so that all Palestinians can be united under one leadership.

“Commit to peace and the improvement of Palestinian lives,” he stressed.

The Special Representative concluded his article by saying: “If Hamas genuinely wants change and peace with its neighbors, the peace plan that the Trump Administration is developing will offer a path to a change that will be the most significant gift Mr. Sinwar could ever give to his children and the children that he and Hamas claim to care for.”

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