Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused President Donald Trump’s peace team of plotting to topple the Palestinian Authority (PA).

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that, “Saeb Erekat would be concerned about initiatives that could further divide the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.  His statement is clearly aimed at trying to persuade the Palestinian Authority that protecting Hamas is in their interests. The lack of unity among Palestinians is something even the ANC questions. It is however, in the best interests of the Palestinian people, (and Israel and the US in terms of peace in the Middle East) to work with the Palestinian Authority to free Palestinians from the grip and abuse of Hamas, and not to topple them.

“On 4 November 2014, during a dialogue between myself and Saeb at the ICC in East London, Dr Saeb, who I had met in Ramallah previously, said: Efforts are being made to move toward national conciliation with the view of when we Palestinians differ, we use the ballot and not the bullet. National conciliation is his dream.”

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Senior Advisor to President Donald Trump Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt in Jerusalem. After visits to Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Greenblatt and Kushner were expected to provide details of the US-sponsored peace plan to the Israeli Premier, with an eye to jump-starting negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, which has maintained a boycott of the Trump administration since its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the US’ subsequent embassy move.

While PA President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly rejected the US’ role in the peace process since Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, King Abdullah II of Jordan met with Kushner and Greenblatt on Wednesday, declaring that the “US has an important role” in future talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinians reportedly refused to meet with the US team as part of their boycott of the Trump administration.

Erekat’s claim that, “The goal behind this is to sustain the [Hamas] coup and keep Gaza separated from [Palestinian-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria] . . . to creat[e] a mini-state in Gaza while bringing down the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank,” was in response to a statement released by Kushner and Greenblatt referencing discussions with Netanyahu about humanitarian issues related to the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Hamas terror group.

Dudley said that in discussions with her, Saeb Erekat had seemed sincere when he said ‘Jews, Moslem’s and Christians have lived together for centuries and can live together’ and that ‘a two state solution and peace are possible’.

Dudley further said that, “It is such a pity that politics breeds paranoia on all sides. It will take a miracle - as was the case in South Africa - for great men and women to dare to do the unthinkable and to reach for peace and a shared future despite the seeming impossibility of such a dream.

“We commend the efforts of Israel and the US in this regard and call on them to ensure that the Palestinian Authority has the space they need to initiate their own efforts to find common ground.”

25 June 2018