Mahmoud Abbas

Expert Voices

Trump's Israeli–Palestinian plan likely to heighten Mideast tensions

A Palestinian man riding a horse and waving a Palestinian flag during clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli forces along the Israeli fence East of Gaza City.
A Palestinian man riding a horse and waving a Palestinian flag during a protest along the Israeli fence East of Gaza City. Photo: Nidal ALwaheidi/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

This year's UN General Assembly session promises to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict back to center stage. The Trump administration's recent decisions on Jerusalem and withdrawal of funding for the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, together with a possible announcement at the UN of its "deal of the century," indicate that it is attempting to remove key issues for the Palestinians from the negotiating table.

The big picture: The U.S.’ apparent strategy is to decide a priori the fate of Jerusalem and refugees in Israel's favor, and to force the Palestinians to accept an inferior deal. Whether the U.S. unveils the details of its plan during the UNGA session or not, it’s likely to exacerbate tensions in the region.

Scoop: Palestinian intelligence delegation in D.C. for talks with CIA

President Trump welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House last year. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Israeli members of the Knesset during a meeting in his office in Ramallah Sunday that — despite the deep crisis with the Trump administration — a Palestinian delegation of security and intelligence officials is in Washington, D.C. for talks with the CIA. 

Why it matters: The connection between the CIA and the Palestinian General Intelligence service is one of the few functioning channels of communication between the Trump administration and the Palestinians. Despite cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority and projects in the West Bank and Gaza alongside its decision to stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the Trump administration has decided to maintain the funding it gives to the Palestinian security services.