Palestinian president Abbas stands between PM Haniyeh and senior Fatah leader Dahlan in Gaza.
(photo credit: SUHAIB SALEM / REUTERS)
Top Mahmoud Abbas adviser Ahmad Majdalani said on Thursday that the Palestinian leadership is not concerned President-elect Donald Trump will make dramatic changes to US foreign policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We are entirely aware that the American president cannot make basic reforms to US foreign policy regarding the Palestinian issue,” Majdalani told The Jerusalem Post when asked whether the Palestinian leadership fears the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem after Trump assumes office.
Trump stated during his campaign that he “100 percent” intends to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
Successive US presidents have issued waivers to avoid implementing the Jerusalem Embassy Act, a law passed in 1995 requiring the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem, citing national security concerns.
Majdalani, who also is a member of the PLO Executive Committee, added that it is important to separate between Trump the nominee, and Trump the president.
“We know that Trump was one thing during the election campaign and that he will become something else once he becomes president,” he stated.
“We don’t believe we will see changes to US policy.”
A number of Israeli officials congratulated Trump on his election on Wednesday and hoped for major changes in US foreign policy.
Naftali Bennett, the chairman of the Bayit Yehudi Party, said Trump’s election is a chance for Israel to change its official policy regarding the two-state solution.
“Trump’s victory is a tremendous opportunity for Israel to immediately announce its intention to renege on the idea of establishing Palestine in the heart of the country,” Bennett said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely thanked Trump for saying he will move the embassy.
“I would like to reiterate Israel’s deep appreciation of President- elect Trump’s declared intention to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem,” Hotovely told a press release.
Majdalani said that Israeli officials are “delusional” in thinking that Trump will change longstanding US foreign policy and called on them “not to take preemptive steps.”
Separately, Majdalani said that the Obama administration has not given the Palestinian leadership any indication or promise about possible moves he could take in the coming two-and-a-half months.
“It is true that Obama has an opportunity to correct a number of issues and make good on several promises he made during his term in office, but the Palestinian leadership has not received any indications or promises about the steps or positions the US president could take,” Majdalani stated.
Many analysts have suggested that Obama may lay out parameters to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or abstain from a security council resolution condemning settlements construction before the end of his term.
Khaled Mashaal, the chairman of the Hamas Politburo, also commented on Trump’s election on Thursday.
“It would be wrong of Trump to give the green light to Israel to do as it pleases in Palestine. We urge him to reconsider his country’s policy of unqualified bias toward Israel,” said Mashaal, who is set to step down as Hamas chief next year.
“There can be no stability in the region without recognizing the rights of Palestine."
“Now is the time to acknowledge that Israel has become a burden on you. We call on you to treat fairly with the Palestinians and end your policy of overlooking Israel’s perpetual crimes.”