Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a news conference following the extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey.
(photo credit: REUTERS/OSMAN ORSAL)
The Palestinians will not allow US President Donald Trump's yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East to pass, and will continue paying salaries to families of Palestinian prisoners and "martyrs," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.
Speaking at a meeting of the Fatah Central Committee in Ramallah, Abbas said that the Arab countries have told the Palestinians that they too were opposed to Trump's plan, also known as the "deal of the century."
At the beginning of his speech, Abbas sent greetings to Palestinians who were taking part in the Hamas-sponsored protests along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel and demonstrations against the Trump plan and the plans to evict the Bedouin hamlet of Khan al-Ahmar, near Ma'aleh Adomim.
"We are proud of these marches and protests," Abbas said.
He reiterated his strong opposition to the Trump plan, saying the Palestinians will not accept it and will not allow it to pass. "We want to affirm that our Arab brothers have told us that they too are against the deal of the century," Abbas said. "In addition, there are countries in Europe, Asia and Africa that have begun realizing this deal can't pass."
Abbas lashed out at Israel for its decision to deduct payments made by the PA to families of "martyrs" and security prisoners (from tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinians), saying the Palestinians will take measures in accordance with their interest. He did not provide details about the nature of the measures the Palestinians were planning.
"We won't allow anyone to interfere with the money [that is paid to the prisoners and families of "martyrs]," Abbas stressed. "They are our martyrs and prisoners and the injured and we will continue to pay them. We started the payments in 1965."
In his speech, Abbas also referred to renewed attempts by Egypt to end the rivalry between his Fatah faction and Hamas. "We have made it clear to our Egyptian brothers that if Hamas wants reconciliation, they must either hand everything over to us or, otherwise, they should assume their full responsibilities there," the PA president said, referring to his demand that Hamas relinquish control over the Gaza Strip in favor of his Ramallah-based government. "If they [Hamas] want to be in charge [of the Gaza Strip], then they should be responsible for everything," he added.
At the end of the meeting, the Fatah Central Committee also repeated its rejection of the Trump plan, dubbing it a "suspicious scheme aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause."
In a statement, the committee said that the Palestinians will work towards thwarting the plan with backing from the Arab countries.
"The US administration needs to know that any deal or initiative that excludes the legitimate rights of the Palestinians and tries to avoid international resolutions are doomed to failure, like all other suspicious schemes [previously] foiled by the Palestinians and their national leadership," the statement read.
The committee condemned the Israeli decision to deduct the payments to the prisoners and the families of the "martyrs."
It said such decisions will have "serious repercussions" on the Palestinians' relations with Israel. "No one is entitled to interfere in this issue," the Fatah committee said.