Abbas reportedly ready to suspend settlement freeze demand to restart peace talks


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to suspend his demand that Israel freeze West Bank settlement construction as a condition for restarting peace talks, a top adviser said.

Abbas also is willing to mute his campaign to prosecute Israeli officials for war crimes and to single Israel out for condemnation at the United Nations, Mohammad Mustafa, a senior economic adviser to Abbas and a former PA deputy prime minister, told Bloomberg on Wednesday in an interview in Ramallah on Monday, that  was published on Thursday.

He said that the Palestinian leadership agrees that “it’s better for all of us right now to focus on giving this new administration a chance to deliver” than to dig in on the settlement freeze.

Mustafa, 62, chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, told Bloomberg that high levels of unemployment and international donors’ failure to provide promised aid are among the reasons Abbas is willing to sit at the negotiating table.

Trump has stated that he would like to broker the “ultimate deal,” a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians with the approval of the rest of the Arab world.


Last week Trump signed a waiver to delay moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel.

In announcing the signing of the waiver the White House said in a statement: “President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.”

Abbas aide, Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of the Central Committee in Abbas’ ruling Fatah party, said that in signing the waiver Trump earned the Palestinian’s confidence, calling their view of Trump a “new dynamic.”

“With this administration, the White House is engaged and that’s a huge difference,” Shtayyeh said, but added “That doesn’t mean that I am optimistic “.

Nine months of peace talks held under the auspices of the United States and then-Secretary of State John Kerry ended with no resolution in 2014.

Mustafa called on countries that have pledged aid to the PA to make good on those pledges and for is foreign investment in sectors such as energy, tourism, real estate and industry, in order to hold off a Palestinian economic crisis and make new peace talks more successful.