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Trump has made peace talks impossible, says Abbas aide

SENIOR Palestinian official Mohammed Ishtayeh objected yesterday to US President Donald Trump’s claim that the Palestinians have walked away from peace negotiations, saying US policies in favour of Israel have pushed Palestinians away from any future process.

Mr Ishtayeh, a top adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas, said a series of US steps have harmed the climate ahead of an expected peace proposal by the White House.

“Which negotiating table?” Ishtayeh asked. “Since he came to power, there have been no negotiations whatsoever.”

Mr Ishtayeh criticised the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the planned move of the US embassy there, US cuts in funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and restrictions on the Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington.

His condemnation follows the Palestinian ambassador to Britain Manuel Hassassian and former Israeli peace negotiator Daniel Levy saying in London at the weekend that the imbalance in power between Palestine and Israel made talks impossible.

Aside from Mr Trump’s inflammatory recent decisions, the US continues to give Israel billions of dollars in military aid each year.


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