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Europe starts preparing Mideast peace initiative

The one-sided decision by the United States to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem in May opens the way for a European Mideast peace initiative.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas underwent some medical checks in Baltimore on Feb. 22, and therefore he had to cancel his visit to Venezuela. But while the test results were satisfactory, Abbas’ political health is in much poorer shape, to say the least.

According to a senior PLO official who is close to Abbas, the president was shocked by the US decision to move its embassy — or at least parts of it, including the ambassador’s office — from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. Still, Abbas’ public reaction could be considered mild, compared with the rage expressed in Ramallah. The Palestinian leadership already understood that US President Donald Trump’s policies were 100% on Israel’s side, but to implement such a policy on Israel’s 70th anniversary (which in the narrative of the Palestinians marks 70 years since their national catastrophe — the Nakba) is viewed as a public attack against Abbas. More so, the Palestinian leadership considers this move as deliberately weakening Abbas’ position in public opinion.

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