Saudi paper urges Palestinians to look at Trump peace plan
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Saudi paper urges Palestinians to look at Trump peace plan

Editor of Arab News tells Palestinians ‘nothing to be gained from a refusal to come to the negotiating table’

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, right, at the White House, Oct. 1, 2018.  (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, right, at the White House, Oct. 1, 2018. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The editor in chief of Saudi Arabia’s oldest English-language newspaper told Palestinians Wednesday they should sit down and negotiate the peace plan being put together by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Writing on the Arab News website, Faisal Abbas said the Palestinians should face up to the 70 years of failed attempts to defeat Israel and see what the Americans have to offer.

“The Palestinians should negotiate hard, and then take what they can to secure a nation state for future generations,” Abbas wrote. “Everyone would salute their courage and sacrifice if they did, while there is nothing to be gained from a refusal to come to the negotiating table.”

Following his election in 2016, Trump suggested that Kushner would be his front man for putting together an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that he said was “important to me personally.”

The administration’s much-touted plan has been shrouded in secrecy, with little in the way of reliable information being released. Kushner and White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt have repeatedly visited the region to discuss the plan with Arab leaders.

The White House has said that it will release its proposal, dubbed by Trump as the “deal of the century,” after a new Israeli government is formed and after the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in early June.

In his editorial, Abbas brushed aside Palestinian criticism of the plan, saying it would “clearly be wrong” to jump to a conclusion without seeing the details.

“It is also the definition of insanity to repeatedly do the same thing and expect a different result; for 70 years, every time the Arabs have said ‘no’ the Palestinians have lost more land, more rights and more opportunities,” Abbas said.

His newspaper, he said, understands that Kushner’s plan will require “painful sacrifices by both sides,” adding that Saudi sources told him the deal includes a Palestinian “nation state” and some aspects of the 2002 Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative.

Saudi Arabia would work to persuade Arab and Muslim countries to back the bid, but only after the Palestinians agreed to it, and Riyadh would work to help fund “a sustainable and prosperous life for Palestinians,” Abbas wrote, ending by saying his bottom line is “let us give peace a chance.”

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