Egypt's food exports up $51m during H1 2022 – FEC    In Photos: Egypt swears in 13 new ministers after major Cabinet reshuffle    Gold prices in Egypt on August 14    Egypt's SAIB bank records net profit $16 million    Egypt's parliament approves Cabinet reshuffle in extraordinary session    Sisi calls for extraordinary parliament session to agree on major Cabinet reshuffle    Mayo Clinic researchers pinpoint genetic variations that might sway course of COVID-19    Egypt's Mersal Foundation secures UN Women loan    Egypt's Health Ministry launches Emergency scooter    Ukraine cuts off Russian oil from 3 countries    Egypt, South Korea to perform Pyramids Air Show 2022 Today    Spain: prosecutor seeks 8 years sentence for Shakira over tax evasion    Egypt: Alamein Art Festival kicks off a collection of recycled installations    John Legend enjoys family trip in Egypt    Sisi: Egypt wants to join BRICS    Egypt: street photography will no longer require permits    Egypt's athlete Basma Emad wins bronze in weightlifting in Mediterranean Games    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Trump calls Abbas
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 16 - 03 - 2017

In Ramallah, the phone call was news for days. After a two-month long period of silence —exacerbated by a hyped visit for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the White House — US president Donald Trump rang Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday 10 March, at 8:15 pm local time.
The White House's readout of the call was mundane. The the two men discussed ways to advance peace in “the Middle East” including a “comprehensive agreement” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump emphasised that the “time has come to make a deal” which must be negotiated directly between the two parties as the US cannot impose a solution.
The brief readout finished with Trump extending an invitation to Abbas for a meeting at the White House, “in the near future”.
Palestinian anxiety over Trump's policy was triggered long before he entered the White House in response to his campaign vows to move the US Embassy from the Israeli capital Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem: disputed by the two sides and the most sensitive file in the two-decade long negotiations. He also criticised Barak Obama for abandoning Israel and after assuming office, appointed David M Friedman — a staunch supporter of Israel and illegal settlements — as US ambassador to Israel.
That Netanyahu was among the first leaders to visit the White House since Trump's inauguration — and one of the first to receive a call from the US president in his first week in office — attested to a level of change in American policy.
During their joint February presser, Trump did not express commitment to the two-state solution when asked about it and expressed approval of a one state — in this case a Jewish one — as an option.
Shunned for years by Netanyahu, Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority (PA) no longer serves a role in establishing a Palestinian state since the collapse of the peace process, recently fell to irrelevance as most Arab counterparts — Egypt included — kept a distance.
Trump's phone call could have a semblance of a reverse effect. It has, in the words of Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rodaina, “removed Israeli illusions that President Abbas was not a peace partner”.
He added that recent American-Palestinian communications convey the message that a solution to the conflict can only be achieved through “Palestinian, Arab and international legitimacy”.
Such confidence might be warranted. “I think Trump genuinely believes he can seal the ultimate deal,” said Khaled Elgindy senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution's Centre for Middle East Policy in a telephone interview. The lack of regional experience by his top advisors- his son in law Jared Kushner and his Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt- in addition to US ambassador to Israel David M Friedman's opposition to a two-state solution, suggest that the move is coming from Trump, Elgindy added.
But others caution that the hype in official Palestinian quarters has less to do with any substantial change the Trump administration could bring to the stalled peace process as much as it offers Abbas much needed legitimacy and a raison d'etre.
“A phone call where Trump basically conveys to Abbas what was agreed upon with Netanyahu should not be regarded as more than that,” said Abdel-Qader Yassin, a Cairo-based Palestinian expert and commentator.
The Palestinian leadership insists that negotiations are the only way to deal with Israel, when “it is a zero-sum game for the Israelis,” he added “and that is liquidating the Palestinian question, not finding a solution for it.”
Abbas is also facing rising opposition at home and the role of the PA in quashing any resistance or opposition by Palestinians in the West Bank to Israel. Protests in Ramallah continued for the second day in a row on Monday to protest PA security cooperation with Israel, which is blamed for the latter's assassination of a prominent Palestinian activist and resistance figure Basil Al-Araj last week.
Despite his death, a Palestinian court opened a trial for Al-Araj and five others in an old case related to the possession of unlicensed weapons. A hearing on 12 March triggered demonstrations where supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine attempted to enter the courtroom but were repelled by Palestinian police.
Eleven protestors were injured or fainted, including Al-Araj's father. The court dismissed the case for Al-Araj due to his death but will continue to prosecute his alleged accomplices.
Protestors accused the PA of coordinating with the Israeli army to hunt down Al-Araj who was previously detained by Palestinian police. “The people demand the fall of Oslo” protestors chanted Monday in reference to the agreement that gave birth to the Palestinian Authority as an interim entity to manage the West Bank, but only through full cooperation with the Israeli occupation and under Israeli sovereignty.
As protests raged on in Ramallah Monday, Trump's Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt met with the Israeli prime minister to restart talks with the Palestinians. As Al-Ahram Weekly was going to press Tuesday, Greenblatt was due to meet with Abbas in the West Bank.
If indeed the Trump administration starts a process or talks between the two sides, it would be based on the “pillars of Oslo,” says Elgindy: “Economics, quality of life for the Palestinians and security.”
The ‘land for peace' motto that served as the ethos of Oslo's early years has ceased to be part of the two-state solution discourse.
Throughout the two and a half decades of negotiations, illegal settlements continued to expand and flourish at an alarming speed and volume across Palestinian territory, making a viable Palestinian state impossible. But even critics of Oslo and the two-state solution aren't offering realistic alternatives to the Palestinians who continue to bear the brunt of the Israeli occupation; expansion of illegal settlements on occupied territories, land confiscation and restricted movement.
“The situation is dire for the Palestinians,” who feel completely betrayed by officials, said Yassin, the Cairo-based commentator. “This explains the knife Intifada (in reference to attacking Israeli settlers and policemen) of lone wolves with no affiliation to any Palestinian faction or organisation over the past two years.”

Clic here to read the story from its source.