Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas extends his hand to US President Donald Trump at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem May 23, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Trump administration is criticizing one of Israel’s leading broadcast networks for what it characterizes as “misleading” reporting, amid a slate of segments published in recent days on the state of its Mideast peace plan.
The channel’s Dana Weiss reported last month that the administration would outline its policy on Palestinian refugees before the UN General Assembly begins this month, specifically claiming that the number of Palestinians they believe who qualify for refugee status stands at around half a million. Indeed, the White House did announce a complete aid cut to the UN Relief and Works Agency, and challenged its model of recognizing an “exponential” number of refugees through their descendants, although it stopped short of offering an alternative metric.
And this week, the channel reported that Trump approached Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about meeting on the sidelines of the UN summit.
“The Channel 2 report that President Trump requested a meeting with President Abbas is untrue,” said Garrett Marquis, a National Security Council spokesman. “Channel 2 unfortunately continues to publish misleading reports without checking their veracity.”
The administration’s peace team – led by the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, his special envoy to the conflict – is in the final stages of preparing its peace plan, offering briefings to interested parties to earn their buy-in ahead of the roll out.
Marquis also responded to reports that Abbas wants Greenblatt fired before he returns to negotiations, stating: “Rather than engage in personal attacks against Jason Greenblatt or other members of the administration, we continue to hope that the Palestinian Authority will engage with the US positively and constructively to advance our mutual goal of a better future for the Palestinian people.”
Trump’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said that the plan would not be released during the international assembly in New York later this month, contrary to reports in the Israeli press.
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