United States President Donald Trump is not in the pocket of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, top Fatah official Jabril Rajoub said on Wednesday.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post staff at a briefing in Jericho, Rajoub said that the post-US election clamor that Trump will move the US embassy and condone settlement building does not reflect the realities on the ground.
“In the beginning we heard a lot about him [Trump] that he wants so, so, and so as if he was working as an agent or a subcontractor for Mr. Netanyahu,” Rajoub said in his opening remarks. “Then, you know, I think Netanyahu did not sleep that night when Trump called Abu Mazen.”
Trump spoke to Abbas on the phone last Friday about the US administration’s desire to help Israelis and Palestinians reach a peace deal and invited the Palestinian leader to visit him in Washington, D.C.
Rajoub described the phone call as “positive.”
“The way Mr. Trump presented himself was constructive and we can build on that…He said he wants to make very serious peace and end the suffering of both sides,” Rajoub said of the phone call. “He told President Abbas that you are my strategic partner.”
Rajoub added that he thinks a peace deal is possible under the Trump administration.
“[Trump] is interested in American interests and national security first, which means his mission is to protect America’s interest, not the fascist, racist, imperialist, expansionist policies of occupation,” Rajoub remarked.
“I think we can make a peace deal under him…We are optimistic.”
Trump said that he would govern the US on the principle of “America first” in his inauguration speech on January 20.
Rajoub also said that Abbas and Trump’s special representative Jason Greenblatt had a “constructive” meeting on Tuesday, in which the two parties discussed a number of issues pertaining to the peace process.
“Abu Mazen presented our position, ends, and understanding of how to deal with the conflict,” Rajoub stated. “He said that we are committed to two states and working with Israelis as a partner to end the occupation, not to help continue it.”
According to the US Consulate General Jerusalem, Abbas and Greenblatt discussed making a peace deal, stopping incitement, and the Palestinian economy.
Greenblatt wrote on his Twitter on Tuesday that the meeting with Abbas was “positive” and “far-reaching.”
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