New details of President Trump’s meeting with the Palestinian autocrat in Bethlehem emerged as Trump was reportedly angry, accusing Abbas of having lied to him at their Washington meeting “about commitment to peace,” acknowledging having since, seen proof Abbas is “personally responsible for incitement.”
By Daniel Siryoti, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
New details emerged Sunday about the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem last week, suggesting it may not have been as friendly as the Palestinians sought to portray it.
A senior Palestinian official privy to the details said the 20-minute meeting “started on a positive note, but it deteriorated after Trump accused Abbas of supporting incitement and terrorism with the salaries paid to prisoners.”
The Palestinian Authority spends millions of dollars a year paying stipends to the families of terrorists who are either jailed in Israel or were killed carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis, a practice the American president demanded Abbas stop.
According to Channel 2 News, Trump yelled at Abbas during their meeting, saying Israel had presented him with evidence that the Palestinian leader was “personally responsible for incitement” to violence.
Trump reportedly angrily accused Abbas of lying “about your commitment to peace,” saying, “You lied to me in Washington when you talked about commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me you were personally responsible for incitement.”
Trump made it clear to Abbas that he must curb anti-Israeli incitement in the Palestinian education system, saying Abbas cannot turn a blind eye to Palestinian incitement and pay stipends to terrorists’ families while simultaneously setting conditions that hinder any progress in the peace talks.
The Palestinian official said Abbas responded by saying that “in the past, there was a joint Palestinian-Israeli committee that sought to deal with incitement on both sides, but it has not met for years. As for the prisoners’ stipends, those are paid by the PLO’s prisoner authority, not the Palestinian government.”
The officials said that at this point, Trump lost his patience and interrupted Abbas, banging his fist on the table and admonishing him, saying, “You can talk about how much you want peace, but that’s empty [rhetoric].”
The Palestinian official said Trump made it clear to Abbas that his administration would handle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a “completely different way” than his predecessor, and that given the slim chances to make any real progress on the two-state solution, Washington plans to pursue other solutions.
During his visit to Bethlehem last Tuesday, Trump said he was interested in launching a regional peace plan based on the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative that would normalize relations between Israel and moderate Arab countries prior to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Abbas reportedly told Trump the Palestinians were adamantly against any move that would not categorically prioritize the Palestinian issue, to which Trump replied that during his visit to Saudi Arabia, he was explicitly told by the Arab leaders of Egypt, Jordan and the Persian Gulf states that they would support a regional process if the United States guaranteed it would not compromise Palestinian interests.
Taleb el-Sana, one of Abbas’ advisers, denied Monday that the meeting between Trump and Abbas was discordant.
“You can’t say that for a week in Washington, he [Trump] had nothing but encouraging, sympathetic words, and after a week he tells him [Abbas] that he deceived him. Saying there was yelling? That never happened,” el-Sana said.
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