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June 8, 2017 12:58 pm

Report: Abbas to Temporarily Shelve Demand of Israeli Settlement Construction Freeze as Negotiations Precondition

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – Amid the Trump administration’s Mideast peace push, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas will temporarily shelve his longtime demand that Israel freeze construction in the West Bank as a precondition for reviving negotiations with the Jewish state, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

Abbas has also purportedly expressed willingness to tone down his campaigns to prosecute Israel for alleged war crimes and to pursue anti-Israel initiatives at the United Nations, said Mohammad Mustafa, Abbas’s senior economic adviser and former deputy prime minister.

“We have not made the settlements an up-front issue this time,” Mustafa said. “We think it’s better for all of us right now to focus on giving this new administration a chance to deliver.”

An additional prominent aide to Abbas, Mohammad Shtayyeh, said President Donald Trump earned the Palestinians’ trust with his June 1 postponement of relocating the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“There is a new dynamic,” Shtayyeh said. “The embassy issue is behind us. With this administration, the White House is engaged and that’s a huge difference…That doesn’t mean I’m optimistic. Don’t misunderstand.”

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