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PA intelligence chief meets with US security officials in Washington D.C

Feb. 10, 2017 3:03 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2017 10:09 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Official Palestinian Authority (PA) sources told Ma'an on Friday that the chief of the PA's general intelligence service Majid Faraj recently visited Washington D.C along with a delegation of Palestinian officials.

Faraj and his delegation met with security officials of the new US administration. The visit, according to the official sources, was a "very important first step” toward more frequent visits and more communication between the PA and the administration of newly elected president Donald Trump.

Sources said different issues were discussed during the meetings with US officials in preparation for “serious dialogue between both sides,” though the exact issues discussed remained unclear.

Trump’s administration has been expected to lead the conflict further away from any prospective solution, as he has been vocal in his support for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and has also continued to be a public proponent for Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.

Following Trump's election, Israel’s ultra-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that a Trump presidency would mark the end of a push for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

“This is the position of the president-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple. The era of a Palestinian state is over,” he said.

The White House said in a statement earlier this month that “while we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving [peace]."

Last month, Trump’s administration reportedly froze the $221 million dollars that former president Barack Obama had released to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the final hours of his presidency, with the US state department saying it will possibly “make adjustments” to the package, to ensure that the transfer “comports with the Trump administration's priorities.”

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