Abbas Will Ease Up On Settlements To Spur Talks, Aide Says

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Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will temporarily shelve his long-standing demand for Israel to freeze West Bank settlement construction in order to revive peace talks under the Trump administration, a top adviser said.

The 82-year-old Palestinian Authority president also would tone down his campaign to prosecute Israel for alleged war crimes and to rally condemnation of the Jewish state at the United Nations, said Mohammad Mustafa, Abbas’ senior economic adviser and former deputy prime minister.

“We have not made the settlements an up-front issue this time,” Mustafa said in an interview Monday at his office in Ramallah. “We think it’s better for all of us right now to focus on giving this new administration a chance to deliver.”

President Donald Trump says he can broker the Mideast peace agreement his predecessors failed to secure, using negotiating skills he developed as a New York real-estate mogul. Since taking office in January he has hosted Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House and last month visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem on his first foreign trip as president.

(c) 2017, Bloomberg ยท Jonathan Ferziger, Fadwa Hodali

{Matzav}

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