Even before the arrival March 12 to Jerusalem and Ramallah of Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s representative for international negotiations, the Palestinians were concerned. They were already aware of the voices in Washington calling for a halt of American aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until payments to families of shahids (martyrs) are halted.
Those in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ bureau tried to circumvent the problem. As reported by Al-Monitor last week, Abbas instructed the Finance Ministry in Ramallah to probe a possible discontinuation of salary payments to PA workers in the Gaza Strip who left Fatah and joined other groups that are categorized as terror movements by donor organizations. Indeed, the issue of salaries to Gaza employees is a separate issue, but Abbas’ entourage hoped that such steps would prove to the Americans that Abbas is acting with determination against Gaza employees suspected of joining other (terror) groups, and that he is taking each and every matter seriously. Obviously, this did not convince the Americans.