Abbas believes Trump ‘knows nothing’ about US plan he unveiled to solve conflict
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Says aides talked Trump out of backing two states in 2017

Abbas believes Trump ‘knows nothing’ about US plan he unveiled to solve conflict

‘The trio who are next to him’ drew up the White House deal, conveying ‘Netanyahu’s ideas,’ says PA president, referring to Friedman, Greenblatt and Kushner

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President  Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Palestine Liberation Organisztion (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat (C) look on as Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (L) reads a statement during an Arab League emergency meeting discussing the US-brokered proposal for a settlement of the Middle East conflict, at the league headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on February 1, 2020 (Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Palestine Liberation Organisztion (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat (C) look on as Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (L) reads a statement during an Arab League emergency meeting discussing the US-brokered proposal for a settlement of the Middle East conflict, at the league headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on February 1, 2020 (Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday he believed US President Donald Trump knows nothing about the plan he unveiled last Tuesday to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and asserted it was concocted by the president’s aides.

Abbas made the comment during remarks he delivered to Arab foreign ministers at the Arab League in Cairo, in which he articulated his rejection of the plan and called on Arab countries to back Palestinian positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“It is my total conviction that Trump does not know anything about this plan. He is not tied to it,” the PA president stated.

“Those who are tied to it are the trio who are beside him,” he said, referring to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump’s former Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, a key architect of the plan who left the White House in late 2019.

“Those are the ones who detailed everything and would send us Netanyahu’s ideas,” Abbas said.

US President Donald Trump walks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu down the West Wing Colonnade as he arrives for meeting at which he set out the US peace plan, at the White House in Washington, DC, January 27, 2020. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

The White House launched the plan last Tuesday at an event at the White House, in which both Trump and Netanyahu delivered speeches.

Breaking with past US administrations, the plan envisions the creation of a Palestinian state in about 70% of the West Bank, a handful of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, most of the Gaza Strip and some areas of southern Israel — if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, disarm Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, and fulfill other conditions.

The plan also allows Israel to annex settlements, grants the Jewish state sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and overriding security control west of the Jordan River, and bars Palestinian refugees from settling in Israel.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, meets US President Donald Trump In the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (Fadi Arouri, Xinhua Pool via AP)

Abbas has called the plan “the slap of the century” and vowed the Palestinian people “will send it to the dustbins of history.” The Arab League unanimously rejected the plan on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kushner has maintained that the plan represents “the best opportunity the Palestinians have ever had” and said that he hopes “they seize it.”

Abbas also said on Saturday that an official in Trump’s administration prevented the US president from announcing support for the two-state solution after the Palestinian leader met with Trump on the sidelines of the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017.

“I want to talk about the meeting that took place in New York. [It was] an official meeting with two official delegations,” the PA president said.

“I asked him: Mr. President, what is your opinion on the two-state vision? He said: I approve of [it] and I will announce that now. Then one of the boys with him said: Mr. President, it is better that we postpone that. He responded: Okay, okay, okay.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Abbas’s claims.

Since late 2017, the Trump administration has made several moves seen as marginalizing the Palestinians: recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians and the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, and closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s representative office in Washington.

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