Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly agreed to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under the auspices of US President Donald Trump in an attempt to restart peace talks during the American president’s visit to Israel later this month.
On Wednesday, an unnamed Palestinian Authority official confirmed to Channel 2 an earlier report in the Arabic Al-Hayat daily that Trump is expected to announce a trilateral summit with the two leaders during his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority on May 22-23.
According to a Channel 10 report, Abbas agreed to the proposed meeting in order to send the message that he is willing to immediately resume negotiations without preconditions and that the only thing preventing renewed peace talks is Netanyahu.
On Tuesday, Abbas told reporters during a meeting with German President Frank Walter-Steinmeier that he was ready to meet Netanyahu as part of Trump’s efforts to restart the long-dormant talks.
Both Netanyahu and Abbas have voiced support for Trump’s interest in reviving the peace process, although the two have also sought to cast blame on each other for the past lack of progress.
According to Hebrew media reports on Wednesday, Saudi Arabian King Salman has invited Abbas to a summit of Muslim heads of state in Saudi Arabia later this month that Trump will attend a day before arriving in Israel.
Trump and Abbas may also meet during the US president’s expected visit to Bethlehem on May 23.
Tuesday’s Al-Hayat report quoted Palestinian officials as saying that a joint US-Palestinian committee had begun laying the groundwork for Abbas and Trump’s second meeting, after the US president hosted Abbas at the White House on April 3.
The officials said they expect Trump to call for direct talks between Israel and the PA over the course of nine months to a year.
The US president, who has referred to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement as “the ultimate deal,” said last week, when hosting Abbas, that he would be willing to play whatever role was needed to strike an accord.
As he spoke with Abbas in Washington, Trump confidently predicted that a peace agreement was within grasp, brushing aside the complexities of a decades-old conflict that has bedeviled successive US leaders.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.