Palestine

Abbas: Palestinians cannot accept US ‘peace’ plan, mediation

The Palestinian president has once again rejected the so-called peace plan to be unveiled by US President Donald Trump on the conflict with Israel, saying Palestinians will not accept anything other than a state with Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

Addressing the opening session of the four-day meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) in Ramallah on Monday, Mahmoud Abbas censured Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and said Palestinians believe the US can no longer be the sole mediator in the decades-long conflict with Israel due to its pro-Tel Aviv bias.

Trump’s plan, the Palestinian leader added, is “an end to the peace process in the Middle East.”

Abbas reiterated that there will be no peace between Israelis and Palestinians without Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of the future State of Palestine.

“If Washington wants to provide something, it must say it is with the choice of the two-state solution and [that] East Jerusalem [al-Quds] is the capital of the independent State of Palestine. Anything different from this, we won’t accept,” Abbas said.

He further said “there will be no Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip and there will be no state in Gaza only.”

Abbas also ruled out any project to establish a Palestinian state with temporary borders, saying it was a “liquidation” of the Palestinian cause.

On December 6, Trump announced that Washington recognizes Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and would relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

The dramatic shift in Washington’s policy vis-à-vis the city triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the world.

Following Trump’s announcement, Abbas declared that the US could no longer serve as a peace broker, and has since been working to create an international mechanism to guide the so-called Middle East peace process.

Abbas also said back then that what Trump calls the “deal of the century” insults Palestinians and has in fact turned into the “slap of the century.”

On December 21, the United Nations General Assembly also voiced support for Palestinians and overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial declaration on Jerusalem al-Quds.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on occupied Palestinian territories.

Multiple White House officials have recently said the Trump administration is finalizing his proposal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds during the Six-Day War in 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Abbas stressed that Palestinians would continue their efforts to join international agencies and treaties and to obtain full membership at the United Nations in a bid to gain international protection for the nation.

In November 2012, the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from Israel.

Palestine’s flag was also hoisted for the first time at the UN Headquarters in New York in September 2015.

The Palestinian president further slammed Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied territories, calling for an end to the occupation of Israel in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative, which envisions a two-state solution to the conflict.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

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