Former US Secretary of State John Kerry told close associate of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas not to yield to US President Donald Trump’s demands during peace negotiations, Hebrew newspaper Ma’ariv has revealed.
According to the report, Kerry met Hussein Agha, a senior advisor to the PA, in London this week during which Kerry conveyed a message to Abbas to “hold on and be strong”.
“Tell him that he should stay strong in his spirit and play for time, that he will not break and will not yield to President Trump’s demands,” he said.
Kerry went on to say that he did not believe President Trump would remain in office much longer, and offered to help the Palestinians advance the peace process, recommending that Abbas present his own peace plan.
“Maybe it is time for the Palestinians to define their peace principles and present a positive plan,” he suggested.
He advised the PA not to attack the US or the Trump Administration, but rather focus on Trump as an individual, whom Kerry considers solely responsible for the current situation.
Kerry further hinted that many in the US establishment, as well as in the intelligence community, are dissatisfied with Trump’s performance as president. He also informed Agha that he was seriously considering running for president himself in 2020.
Kerry has been a strong supporter of Israel and the two-state solution during his role as Secretary of State, but has been critical of the direction the peace process has taken since the ascendance of Donald Trump.
The news that the previous US administration maintains communication with the PA, whilst the White House currently has no contact with Palestinian officials, is also likely to be a source of embarrassment to President Trump.
In the aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Palestinian Authority officials suspended all communication with US officials, with Abbas refusing to take senior advisor Jared Kushner’s phone calls.
In response, President Trump’s threated to cut funding to the Palestinians if they do not resume negotiations with the US.