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Trump Envoys’ Middle East Trip ‘Waste of Time,’ Palestinians Say

Top U.S. diplomats heading to the Middle East to discuss their plan to settle the Israel-Palestinian conflict are wasting their time if they disregard previous Arab initiatives to reach peace, according to the spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Peace proposals that ignore “the resolutions of the Arab summits, resolutions of the UN Security Council, and international legitimacy, primarily the approval of the Palestinian people and the president’s signature, will be doomed to failure,” Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said in a statement on Saturday.

Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, who lead Middle East policy for the White House, are slated to consult with regional leaders next week about the peace plan the two have been working on since President Donald Trump took office. Tensions between American and Palestinian officials have been rising, exacerbated by Trump’s controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem last month.

Palestinians say that move disqualifies the U.S. from being an impartial broker between them and the Israelis, as both peoples lay claim to the ancient city as their capital. Trump’s decision proves the U.S. administration’s “moral bankruptcy,” lead negotiator Saeb Erekat wrote in an opinion piece in the Israeli daily Haaretz on May 17. Trump has maintained that the borders of Jerusalem will be finalized only through direct negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians.

Greenblatt fired back at Erekat four weeks later in the same paper, calling for new Palestinian voices to lead peace efforts. Erekat “has not achieved anything close to Palestinian aspirations or anything close to a comprehensive peace agreement,” despite “decades” of trying, he wrote.

Source: Bloomberg

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