Trump administration rejects Israeli news report that president requested meeting with Abbas


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Trump administration has rejected as “untrue” a report in the Israeli media that President Donald Trump requested a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of this month’s United Nations General Assembly.

Israel’s Channel 2 Hadashot news reported on the Trump overture through an unnamed third party to reestablish ties with the Palestinians on Tuesday.

Abbas reportedly responded that such a meeting could only take place if the United States made diplomatic overtures. He also reportedly demanded that Trump fire special Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and White House advisor Jared Kushner.

Hadashot news on Wednesday reported that despite the Trump administration denial of the meeting request, it stood by its story and noted that World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder has served as an indirect intermediary.

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“The Channel 2 report that President Trump requested a meeting with President Abbas is untrue. Channel 2 unfortunately continues to publish misleading reports without checking their veracity,” Garrett Marquis, United States National Security Council spokesperson, said in a statement.

He also said: “Rather than engage in personal attacks against Jason Greenblatt or other members of the administration, we continue to hope that the Palestinian Authority will engage with the U.S. positively and constructively to advance our mutual goal of a better future for the Palestinian people.”

Abbas stopped talking to the administration after the move of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump angered the Palestinians recently with his decision to cut U.S. funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.