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 are being offered Abu Dis as the capital of a future Palestinian state, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.
Abu Dis is a Palestinian town on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where Al-Quds University, one of the largest Palestinian universities, is located.
Abbas’s comments came during a speech he delivered to a meeting of the Palestinian Central Council, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s second-highest decision-making body.
“What would you want if Jerusalem were to be lost? Would you want to make a state with Abu Dis as its capital?” Abbas stated rhetorically. “That’s what they are offering us now. Abu Dis.”
The PA president did not identify who specifically is offering Abu Dis as the capital of a future Palestinian state. However, a number of reports over the past several weeks, anonymously quoting Palestinian and Lebanese officials, have said that a forthcoming US peace plan includes Abu Dis as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Speaking about the future US peace plan, Abbas said he has already said “no” to US President Donald Trump.
“We can say no to anyone... And we have now said ‘no’ to Trump and others. No, we will not accept his plan,” Abbas said. “We told him that the deal of the era is the slap of the era... We will repel it.”
Since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city, Palestinian-American relations have deteriorated. Nonetheless, White House officials have said they still plan to publish their peace plan and expect that it will appeal to the Palestinians.
Abbas also said that Israel “has ended” the Oslo Accords and called for a decision to be made about its future.
“We are an authority without authority and the occupation is without a cost,” he said. “We will not accept remaining in this [situation]... This is one of the issues that needs to be put on the table.”
The PA president has stated many times in the past that the Palestinians will not remain committed to the Oslo Accords if Israel does not maintain its obligations to them. Nonetheless, Abbas has not withdrawn from the agreements, which established the PA and its various institutions.
Abbas also reiterated his support for the two-state solution.
“I’m with the two states…according to international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative, the State of Palestine along 1967 borders,” he said.
Most of the international community holds that Israel and the Palestinians should resolve their conflict by way of a two-state solution.
Later in his speech, which lasted some two hours, Abbas said that the Palestinians would be prepared to work with an international framework for the peace process.
In the coming weeks, Abbas is expected to travel to Brussels, Moscow and other capitals to push for a new international framework for the peace process.
Israel has long rejected multilateral initiatives for the peace process.
The PA president also called for “popular, peaceful resistance” to Israel’s military rule.
“I am not bashful about repeating this one hundred or one thousand times. I only support popular peaceful protest,” Abbas said. “Believe me, its stronger and more effective than other ways.”