Defying the position of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, four Arab states gave their support to the Middle East peace plan overseen by Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, leaving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in tatters.
Officials from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan interviewed by the Israeli Hayon daily expressed their displeasure with Abbas’s insistence on refusing to meet, according to al-Jazeera.
In an interview with a Palestinian newspaper published on Sunday, Kushner said Washington would announce its Middle East peace plan soon and would press on with or without Palestinian President Abbas.
Kushner visited Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt before talks on Friday and Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
His comments underlined gaping divisions between Washington and the Palestinian leadership that have widened since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and moved the U.S. Embassy there, overriding decades of U.S. policy.
Palestinian officials, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, accused Kushner of trying to undermine Abbas and what they described as their leader’s moderate camp.
In the interview with Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, Kushner, who was meeting with leaders in the region but not Abbas, refused to go into details on his peace plan. Palestinian leaders have refused to meet with the Trump team since the president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. Relations between Washington and the Palestinians have been severely strained since President Donald Trump’s December decisions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the American embassy there. As Trump’s policies appear to favor Israel more than those of his predecessor Barack Obama, Abbas has resisted, saying the U.S. “can no longer play a leading role” in peace efforts. Abbas has refused any contact with Trump’s administration since Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at the end of last year. Jerusalem is an emotional issue at the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel captured the city’s eastern half, home to holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims, in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it. Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.