Although the relationship between the Palestinian Authority and the Trump administration has been a little rocky since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, the previous administration has stayed in contact with Palestinian officials.
Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Hussein Agha, an associate of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in London according to The Jerusalem Post.
Agha, a veteran peacemaker with Israel, repeated details from this conversation to senior officials in Ramallah.
During this conversation, Kerry asked Agha to take a message to Abbas to “hold on and be strong.”
He said to 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.”
Kerry reportedly said that within a year, there is a strong possibility that President Donald Trump will no longer be in office.
According to Agha’s report, Kerry offered his assistance to Palestinians in their peace process, using his contacts and support of the plan.
“Maybe it is time for the Palestinians to define their peace principles and present a positive plan,” Kerry suggested, according to The Jerusalem Post.
He also said to focus on personal attacks on Trump, who Kerry claims is responsible for the entire situation, instead of his administration or the U.S.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Kerry used “derogatory terms and even worse” when referring to the president, and told Agha that many Americans are dissatisfied with Trump and his leadership.
The 74-year-old also told Agha that he would consider running against Trump in 2020 if he survives his term, which would make Kerry the oldest president in U.S. history.
According to Agha’s report, “Kerry appears to be ‘crazy about things,’ very energetic, and someone who is yearning to help realize the dream of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Early January, the Trump administration announced a hefty cut in U.S. aid to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, slashing the first installment of 2018 by more than half.
Instead of sending the planned $125 million to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the U.S. will send just $60 million in aid. Palestinian refugees get aid through UNRWA.
UNRWA applies refugee status to “a person whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict,” and also to such a person’s descendants.
This funding cut, as well as Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, has created tension between the U.S. and Palestine.
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