Palestinian Authority at Odds With Trump's Middle East Team Over New Peace Drive in Israel

Palestinian Arabs are reportedly fed up with the Trump administration’s attitude toward them, specifically, the administration’s approach toward their aspiration to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, the biblical heartland of Israel.

“In all likelihood, they were hoping that the new US administration would endorse their vision for ‘peace’ with Israel,” Palestinian Middle East expert Bassam Tawil wrote in his latest article on the emerging crisis.

Tawil reported that the “Palestinians are now denouncing Trump and his people for their ‘bias’ in favor of Israel,” and added that the Palestinian Arabs are now “openly accusing the Trump administration of ‘blackmail’ and of seeking to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

The Palestinian scholar thinks the recent actions by the Palestinian Authority are connected to its disappointment with Trump’s upcoming peace initiative and that the Palestinian Arabs have already made up their mind about the administration.

“Whatever comes from Trump and his Jewish team is against the interests of the Palestinians,” according to Tawil, who referred to the fact that three key players in the efforts to restart the moribund peace process are Jewish: Jared Kushner, Trump’s special envoy for the the Israeli-Palestinian peace process; Jason Greenblatt, the president’s special representative for international negotiations; and David Friedman, the new U.S. ambassador to Israel.

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The Palestinian Arabs see the upcoming peace initiative by the Trump administration as an American-Israeli conspiracy. These two countries, together with other regional players such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, will “impose a solution” on them and will “liquidate their cause,” Tawil wrote.

He cited Palestinian political analyst Dr. Mazen Safi, who has said that “the U.S. president and his administration have removed the mask from their face.”

“They are paving the way for a new Israeli aggression on our people and moving the region toward an explosion,” according to Safi.

The PA is reportedly also angry with the Arab League, which gathered in Cairo last week without even mentioning the Palestinian issue.

Al-Quds, a Palestinian paper with close ties to the PA, complained last week in an editorial that the Arab Foreign Ministers had the gall to designate Hezbollah, which is seen as a part of the “resistance front” against Israel, together with the Palestinian terror organizations, thus ignoring Palestinian national aspirations.

“The meeting ignored the Palestinian cause. We are facing new Arab alliances against Iran, all under American pressure. This will have a negative impact on our cause,” the Al-Quds editorial stated.

The deterioration in the ties between the PA and the Trump administration was on full display last week. The U.S. first threatened to close the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s diplomatic mission in Washington over the Palestinian attempt to file charges of war crimes against Israeli Defense Forces officers and Israeli politicians at the International Criminal Court in the Dutch city of Hague, but later seemed to back down on the issue.

Media outlets later reported PA leader Mahmoud Abbas refused to answer a call from Jared Kushner in response to the initial decision to close down the PLO mission in Washington.

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The Palestinian leadership is blaming Trump’s “Jewish team” for the president’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump’s peace plan has “three Jewish pillars,” according to Hassan al-Batal, a political analyst with strong ties to the PA.

Bassam Abu Sharif, who was an adviser to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, doubled down on these sentiments and called Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman a “ dangerous clique.”

The Palestinian Arabs think that the Trump administration is already preparing to blame the PA for the failure of the upcoming peace initiative. Fatah, the political movement of Abbas, recently put out a statement accusing the U.S. of indulging in “political blackmail” and of “endorsing the Israeli policy” on the two-state solution.

Unnamed Palestinian officials told Tawil that Trump’s peace initiative is nothing more than a “Jewish-American conspiracy to eliminate the Palestinian cause.”

Tawil thinks that the current crisis in Palestinian American relations could be the harbinger of a new Intifada under the pretext that the Trump administration, together with Israel and Saudi Arabia, is seeking “to strip the Palestinians of their rights.”

The facts on the ground in Judea, Samaria and the West Bank, though, indicate something else.

Palestinian Arabs in the area of Gush Etzion, the largest bloc of Jewish communities in Judea, told The Western Journal they have little appetite for a third Intifada, though most of them support continuing attacks on Israelis.

Palestinian Arabs are still reeling from the four-year-long Second Intifada, the suicide terror war which was initiated by then Arafat and lasted from September 2000 until 2004. They seem to have more interest in improving the quality of their lives.

Many Palestinian Arabs are now working in Israel again. A simple look at the official checkpoints on the so-called Green Line, the 1948 Armistice line, shows that the number of Palestinian workers employed in Israel is growing every week.

Many of them come to the checkpoints in expensive cars, which they park along the roads leading up to these checkpoints before undergoing the mandatory security checks. Then, they enter Israeli vehicles that transfer them to their employers.

As for Palestinian national unity, talks regarding the reconciliation process between Hamas and the PA are on the verge of collapse, according to Israeli media.

Under the first reconciliation agreement, the PA was supposed to take control of the Gaza Strip, a process that should have been completed by the end of November.

However, only 5 percent of Gaza has been transferred to PA control so far.

Under the deal between Hamas and the PA, the parties agreed to “complete measures to empower the (PA) government to completely undertake its duties and responsibilities in administrating the Strip by Friday December 1.”

PA minister Hussein al-Sheikh said this week that “we have not surpassed the 5 percent (marker) on the issue of empowering the government,” adding that Hamas even prevented the PA from taking control of the border crossings in Gaza, a prerequisite for further implementation of the reconciliation agreement.

Hamas spokesman Salah Bardeweil denied al-Sheikh accusations and fired off a tweet claiming the PA has fully taken control over the crossings, as well as ministries and other authorities.

The rival Palestinian factions are also sharply divided over the question of who will control Hamas’ security apparatus. The terrorist organization is refusing to disarm, while the PA is demanding Hamas cede control over the Izz a-Din al Qassam Brigades to the Ramallah-based central government, according to The Jerusalem Post.


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George C. Upper III
Executive Editor
The Western Journal