Report: PA Starved for Donations, Eager to Negotiate, Will Waive Demand for Settlement Freeze

Source: Report: PA Starved for Donations, Eager to Negotiate, Will Waive Demand for Settlement FreezeThe Jewish Press | David Israel | 14 Sivan 5777 – June 8, 2017 | JewishPress.com

Mahmoud Abbas and Donald Trump in Bethlehem, May 23, 2017.

Mahmoud Abbas is willing—temporarily—to abandon his demand that Israel freeze settlement construction, and would—also temporarily—set aside his campaign to prosecute Israel for war crimes, to get the peace talks moving under President Trump’s sponsorship, Abbas’s senior adviser Mohammad Mustafa told Bloomberg in an interview published on Wednesday.

Interestingly, according to Mustafa, what the PA needs now even more than getting Jews to stop adding rooms to their crammed homes in the settlements, is preventing an all-but-certain economic crisis in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. They need the hundreds of millions of dollars pledged by donor nations. Show me the money, he demands, in essence, it’ll make me much more willing to talk peace.

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“We have not made the settlements an up-front issue this time,” Mustafa said, explaining that “we think it’s better for all of us right now to focus on giving this new administration a chance to deliver.”

Mohammad Mustafa is Chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, the PA’s former Minister of National Economy and its former Deputy Prime Minister. He has a master’s degree and PhD from George Washington University. With those qualifications, he is keenly aware, as he told Bloomberg, of the rampant unemployment in the PA, which is suffering the effects of international donors’ reneging on promised funds. These, obviously, is why Abbas is eager to start negotiating, never mind all those Jews who dare close off their terraces in eastern Jerusalem in alleged violation of the Geneva convention.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, who served as the PA’s minister of public works and housing, and minister of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, told Bloomberg that President Trump’s decision to keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv has endeared him to PA Arabs. “There is a new dynamic,” Shtayyeh noted.

Settlement construction freeze has always been a pre-condition for joining peace negotiations for PA Chairman Abbas. Never mind that, if you were to ask Jewish settlers, Prime Minister Netanyahu has kept Judea and Samaria construction-free for nine years now. For the Netanyahu government, talking about new housing in Judea and Samaria has largely replaced actually building anything.

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