US President Donald Trump will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session this month to discuss a possible regional settlement, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.
The meetings are expected to take place between September 17 and 19, as the US president wants to hear directly from Netanyahu and Abbas about a possible settlement through a regional deal, according to the officials.
Palestinians have anticipated the possible meeting, by voicing their opposition to any other alternatives to the two-state solution. A Palestinian source told Asharq Al-Awsat that a regional settlement would be rejected.
Abbas had met with Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, at the head of an American delegation that visited the region last month. The two officials agreed to take more time to formulate a plan of action.
“We will not accept to be deceived. The establishment of a Palestinian state is the only solution, and it must precede any Arab-Israeli normalization of relations,” a senior official told Asharq Al-Awsat.
A diplomatic source at the White House said that Trump would meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session with many leaders, heads of state and heads of government from around the world, including Abbas and Netanyahu.
The Haaretz Israeli newspaper said that Trump was determined to activate the negotiations in an effort to reach a settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority within the framework of a regional deal.
According to the daily, recommendations and guidelines issued by Trump a few weeks ago to his team of advisors overseeing the negotiations, notably Kushner, US special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt and Washington’s ambassador to Israel David Friedman, included the need to reach a settlement within a regional deal.
The US president will discuss with Netanyahu specifically other issues, such as the Iranian nuclear deal and the settlement in Syria. But a Palestinian source told Asharq Al-Awsat that a regional settlement would be rejected.
According to the source, Abbas has stressed to the American delegation his rejection to such settlement and insisted on a two-state solution.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority lashed out at Friedman for his remarks describing the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories as “the alleged occupation.”
Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, said in a letter sent to diplomats working in Palestine: “Friedman’s remarks are unacceptable,” underlining Israel’s ongoing violations against the Palestinian people and their land.