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US advances confidence-building measures toward Palestinians

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah refuses to negotiate with US administration envoys, but might be willing to indirectly discuss an interim agreement.
A demonstrator waves a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision on Jerusalem, near the border with Israel in the southern Gaza Strip March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa - RC1D250522B0
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It seems that Washington has started to realize the global advantages that lie in peacemaking. While Russia is engaged in intense bellicose activity in Syria in coordination with Iran, US President Donald Trump is interested in disengaging from Syria, working with North Korea to achieve a denuclearization agreement and progressing toward Israeli-Palestinian peace. Trump has instructed his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and his regional peace envoy Jason Greenblatt to further engage with the parties in the region in order to advance on the Israeli-Palestinian track. The administration is in constant contact on the matter with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and indirectly with Ramallah. For now, Trump will not take no for an answer from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

A senior PLO official close to Abbas told Al-Monitor that while the Palestinian president refuses any direct contact on a peace process with the administration given its pro-Israeli position and the upcoming move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Ramallah is open to indirect contact. Abbas is ready to open indirect communication channels with the United States through his Arab partners, principally Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. These communication channels will focus on confidence-building measures and even on interim measures to stabilize the situation, prevent violence and recreate a new equilibrium in the international community.

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