Rawhi Fattouh, a PA central committee member who is in charge of international relations claims that the PA lost major income from international assistance because nations are angry the PA is paying terrorists salaries. Rawhi explains that these salaries promote peace. “If we didn’t give them a salary what would their lot be? They’ll turn to ISIS or to other extreme groups…so we reject the words of those who think we should things differently. We tell the nations who have supported us that their donations help the PA bring peace to the Middle East and if you back away from helping you should bear the consequences of this.”
Rawhi continued explaining; “We can’t ignore the Palestinian citizen. The wars Israel led against Gaza in 2008, 2012 and 2014 left many civilian victims who weren’t fighters or military men. They were safe in their homes when the fell victim to the crimes of Israel and they left families behind. Are we allowed to ignore these families?”
These words are meant to soften the west against holding back funds which are helping supposedly innocent people. This is part of a PR push before Trump’s visit to Israel.
In a related issue, a senior member of the Trump administration believes in Trump’s ability to pressure Abu-Mazen to progress to the peace talks because of the good relations Trump established with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. This information was said against a backdrop of pressure felt in Jerusalem as Trump’s visit nears. Officially, Trump’s visit is expected to be a friendly one but there are fears of the unknown. Jerusalem notes that Trump went into dealing with the Palestinian conflict faster than they thought he would and he’s already speaking confidently about a deal taking shape. Netanyahu fears that Trump is not filling him in on the details of the deal and it may be behind Israel’s back.
The Israel Hayom (Israel Today) paper reports how alert Trump administration members prevented a diplomatic failure from happening. A senior PA official said that the PA had intentions of taking Trump and his retinue to an official reception in Ramallah. They wanted to accompany the group toward the reception passing by Arafat’s grave without their knowledge. This would have gotten many pictures of Trump in the area of Arafat’s grave which could look as if he was paying respects to Arafat during an official visit. This would have been very embarrassing diplomatically.