Abbas and Kushner.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump is reportedly weighing whether to pull out of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations following a "tense" meeting with White House senior staff and officials in Ramallah, according to London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat on Saturday.
The report claimed that Trump is to determine the future of reigniting Mideast peace efforts in the near future, including the possibility of withdrawing completely from the process.
In response, a senior administration official called the report "nonsense."
report came just days after a meeting between the administration's senior adviser Jared Kushner and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which was described as "tense" by an Abbas advisor present at the talks.
Abbas was supposedly furious with the president's son-in-law after Kushner relayed Israeli demands to the 81-year-old Palestinian leader which included the immediate halt of payments to terrorists and their families.
Abbas angrily accused Kushner and Trump's lead international negotiator, Jason Greenblatt, of taking Israel's side and refused to commit to the request.
The report claims that the Trump administration was equally upset with Abbas after he failed to denounce the latest stabbing attack in Jerusalem, leaving 23-year-old St.-Sgt. Maj. Hadas Malka brutally stabbed to death in a terror attack last week. Ties were further strained after Abbas reportedly refused to meet American ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
The Palestinian official also told the paper that the Americans demanded Palestinian officials curb inflammatory statements regarding Israel.
"(Kushner) will submit his report to the president and, after it is submitted, Trump will decide if there's a chance for negotiations or it might be preferable to pull out of peace efforts," the official said.
Abbas claimed that Israel is using the issue of payments to terrorists and their families as a pretext to avoid entering peace-talks, saying that the payments are a part of the Palestinian government's "social responsibility."