(photo credit: AMIR COHEN - REUTERS)
While the Palestinians will no longer accept the US serving as the sole interlocutor in the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians, it could still play some role in a multilateral peace process alongside a number of other states and international organizations, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s international-affairs adviser Nabil Sha’ath said on Sunday.
Sha’ath’s comments came after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last Wednesday and initiated a process to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, moves that infuriated the Palestinians.
Since the early 1990s, the US has served as the primary interlocutor in the peace process.
“America can no longer be the steward of the peace process on its own. We have had enough of that. That page is closed,” Sha’ath told The Jerusalem Post in a phone call. “But if America wants to work with Russia, Europe, China, the UN and other bodies on the peace process, that’s fine.”
On Friday, Abbas said that the US is “no longer qualified to sponsor the peace process,” the official PA news site Wafa reported.
According to Sha’ath, the Palestinians believe that establishing a multilateral framework for the peace process would better reflect the world’s realities.
“After the USSR fell, the US was ruling the world on its own. But today the world has changed. Russia, China and many states in Europe have become very powerful,” he said. “We believe the peace process should reflect this reality.”
Towards the end of former US president Barack Obama’s time in office, the Palestinians pushed for a multilateral framework for the peace process, but the effort did not succeed as Israel refused to work with any such framework.
Israel has long preferred the US to be the sole sponsor of the peace process. It is unclear how a multilateral framework for the peace process could bring tangible change to Palestinians’ lives as long as Israel refuses to work with it.