Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas waves in Ramallah, in the West Bank May 1, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials are expressing skepticism that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to work with them on a reconstruction package for the Gaza Strip, as reported by Israel Army Radio on Thursday.
A senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post that, despite the definitive report, Abbas has “not communicated this position to anyone on the peace team,” comprised of some of US President Donald Trump’s closest advisers.
Abbas, the official stated, “continues to condemn a plan that he has never seen and has not engaged in any productive discussions.”
“Our position on improving Gaza has not changed,” the official said. “As the administration recently stated, ‘without real change accompanied by reliable security, progress is impossible.’”
The Army Radio report claimed that Abbas had lifted his opposition to a US plan for reconstruction of the strip, currently faced with a severe humanitarian crisis. Abbas’ government protested a conference on Gaza held in the spring that convened Israeli, Qatari, Saudi and Emirati officials around the same table for the first time.
The peace team, comprised of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser; Jason Greenblatt
, his special representative for international negotiations; and David Friedman, US ambassador to Israel, believes that dislodging Hamas’ control over the coastal strip is critical to the success of their impending peace plan.
“Our position has not changed,” the official added. “We have made clear about the changes Hamas must make before we can begin a discussion on projects for Gaza.”
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