Mahmoud Abbas, Donald Trump to Meet for First Time at White House
JNS.org – As Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas was set to meet President Donald Trump for the first time Wednesday at the White House, US lawmakers called for the PA to end its payments to jailed terrorists and their families.
Palestinian officials expressed uncharacteristic optimism ahead of the meeting. Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu-Rudeineh, said the PA leader would push for the advancement of a two-state solution based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, an approach that was ratified by this year’s Arab League Summit in late March.
Leading up to Abbas’s White House visit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out against the PA’s payment of stipends to Palestinian terrorists and their families. In an interview with Fox News in mid-April, Netanyahu demanded that the Palestinians stop the payments if they intend to show a genuine commitment to peace with Israel.
“President Abbas…How can you speak of peace with Israel and at the same time fund murderers who spill the blood of innocent Israelis at every turn?” Netanyahu said.
Republican Senators Marco Rubio (Fla.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) similarly insisted that Trump “raise this matter with President Abbas during his visit” and to “make clear to him that this practice [of paying terrorists] must end.”
According to a White House official, Trump has heeded the calls by Netanyahu and US lawmakers, and will request that Abbas stop payments to families of Palestinian terrorists, Haaretz reported.