Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder in the West Bank on Saturday, a Palestinian minister told Reuters.
The talk follows a call by Lauder to revive peace talks between the two groups.
Lauder, a U.S. businessman and an heir to the Estee Lauder Companies, told Saudi newspaper Arab News on Sept. 16 that he hoped the White House-led deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain might revive talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
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The Middle East has seen a shift in attitude regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict, with some of the Gulf States indicating a weariness with championing the Palestinian cause.
In a recent interview-history lecture recorded by former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the prince called the Palestinian cause “just,” but said that its “advocates are failures,” while the “unjust” Israeli cause has “proven to be successful,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Palestinians are still under occupation,” said Marwan Muasher, Jordan’s former foreign minister. “Even if Israel signs peace agreements with all the Arab states but doesn’t come to terms with the Palestinians, you are not going to achieve stability in the region.”
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A person familiar with the issue told Reuters that Lauder’s visit was not coordinated by or on behalf of the Trump administration, and the White House did not issue any statement or comment.
A Palestinian official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Lauder was not carrying a message from the White House.
A second Palestinian source said Abbas discussed the call he made at the United Nations last month for a U.N.-led peace conference early next year.
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The World Jewish Congress said in a statement that Lauder met with Abbas “for a private visit at Abbas’ invitation, to discuss a range of issues regarding Palestine and the Middle East.”