(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Following a meeting with U.S. envoys, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said he’s willing to mitigate financial penalties imposed on the terror group Hamas in Gaza, a Palestinian official said Sunday.
The move reflects Abbas's desire to secure Palestinian reconciliation as the U.S. outlines plans for a regional peace process.
Abbas met Sunday with U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Senior Presidential Adviser Jared Kushner in Ramallah. The meeting was part of Washington's efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, stalled since 2014.
Abbas agreed to halt the Palestinians' diplomatic offensive against Israel for four months, reportedly in exchange for an American commitment to submit a comprehensive plan within that time frame to kick-start the moribund peace talks.
As part of the sanctions imposed on Hamas, the PA has suspended the salaries of thousands of Hamas employees and has also cut its payments for electricity used in Gaza, plunging the enclave into an energy crisis.
According to a Palestinian source, Sunday's decision to ease the sanctions reflects Abbas's desire to secure reconciliation between the rival Palestinian factions as Washington outlines its plans for the regional peace efforts. Under the agreement, if Israeli-Palestinian negotiations resume, Hamas would refrain from undermining them.
A statement from Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's office said on Abbas's orders, 6,000 civil servants in Gaza, who receive their salaries from the PA, will not be made to retire, and several other penalties imposed on Hamas would be mitigated as well.