(January 23, 2018 / JNS) A White House official said on Tuesday that there has been no contact between the Palestinians and President Donald Trump’s Middle East negotiating team, which includes his son-in-law Jared Kushner and international negotiations envoy Jason Greenblatt, since the Dec. 6 announcement of U.S. policy changes on Jerusalem.
“[It is] unfortunate that the president has so many times reached out to explain how dedicated he is to helping the Palestinian people,” the official told reporters, adding that a “disconnect” has caused Palestinian leaders to view the U.S. as not committed to fair negotiations.
“We are here, dedicated and ready to engage whenever they are. We’ll be here when they’re ready,” the official said.
While White House officials have been engaged in talks with high-level Palestinian officials, there are no plans for a meeting between Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“One of the tragic things I have noticed since Dec. 6 is there are so many Palestinians who are reaching out…both in the West Bank and Gaza,” the official said. “They’re under a lot of pressure not to talk.”
Before ending his visit to Israel, Vice President Mike Pence said that reigniting the peace process depends on the Palestinians.
“The White House has been working with our partners in the region to see if we can develop a framework for peace,” Pence told Reuters. “It all just depends now on when the Palestinians are going to come back to the table.”