Palestinian president hosts talks with World Jewish Congress head

Palestinian president hosts talks with head of World Jewish Congress
2 min read
11 October, 2020
Mahmoud Abbas invited Ron Lauder to Ramallah for talks on 'a range of issues regarding Palestine and the Middle East'.
WJC head Ron Lauder (L) with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) in 2015 [Getty]
The head of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder visited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Saturday, a Palestinian official confirmed.

The pair met at the PA headquarters in Ramallah, Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh tweeted, without giving further details. The meeting lasted three hours, according to local media.

The World Jewish Congress confirmed that Lauder went to the West Bank "for a private visit at Abbas' invitation, to discuss a range of issues regarding Palestine and the Middle East".

A Jordanian helicopter was spotted landing at the PA headquarters, sparking rumours that it had to do with senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat's Covid-19 diagnosis.

Erekat's daughter was forced to issue a denial, saying that her father was at home in Jericho with no plans to go him to Amman for treatment.

The meeting comes after several statements made by Lauder willing the Palestinians to restart peace talks with the Israelis.

Lauder, a US-based businessman, has been a proponent of Israel's normalisation agreements with the UAE and Bahrain, to which the Palestinians have been fiercely opposed. He attended the White House signing ceremony on 15 September.

Following the ceremony, the business mogul told Saudi newspaper Arab News that he hoped the agreement would revive peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis, which collapsed in 2014.

Abbas reportedly reiterated the call he made at the UN last month for the body to lead a peace conference next year, a Palestinian sourec told Reuters.

Lauder met with Abbas a year ago in New York when the Palestinian leader attended the UN General Assembly. 

Lauder’s visit was carried out in a strictly personal capacity, and not on behalf of the Trump administration, a Washington-based source told Reuters.

The Palestinians suspended diplomatic relations with the Trump administration since the US President recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 

PA officials have called the Gulf states' normalisation with Israel a "stab in the back".

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