Palestinian leadership in Ramallah regard the visit with the utmost seriousness, especially in light of the indications broadcast by Trump and his team of restarting the peace process after three years of total stagnation.
A senior Palestinian official told Ynet that the feeling among decision makers is that there is a sincere desire in the American administration to attempt to reach an arrangement that addresses the needs of Palestinians.
However, the same official admitted that the consensus among decision makers in Ramallah is a lack of confidence in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which would make a political breakthrough difficult to achieve.
Another Palestinian official emphasized that Palestinians are in a position of complete lack of faith in Netanyahu. "Netanyahu is not a panther. We won't be able to reach an agreement with him," said the official.
As such, Palestinians will agree to sit at the negotiating table in order not to appear as the party refusing a deal. However, they will arrive as they have every time in recent years—with floor-level expectations.
Therefore, the main achievement Palestinians seek with Trump—at this stage—is economic in nature. This is evidenced by Abbas bringing his senior economic advisor Muhammad Mustafa and Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr to his meeting with Trump in Washington.
Palestinians also know that Trump's main demand will be for Palestinians to rein in and stop incitement in the media and textbooks. Additionally, Palestinians also expect the American government to pressure them to sit at the negotiating table without a complete halt on settlement construction.
Trump is due to arrive in Bethlehem Tuesday for a quick visit under the protection of 2,000 Palestinian security officers.
(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)