Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he speaks during the meeting of the Central Council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Ramallah, October 28, 2018.
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas turned down an offer of billions of dollars in return for making concessions on Jerusalem and accepting the city as the united capital of Israel, Mahmoud Habbash, a senior adviser to the PA president, said on Monday.
“President Abbas was offered billions of dollars to just say that we are prepared to reach understandings on Jerusalem so that it would become the united capital of Israel,” Habbash said in a speech during a ceremony marking the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday.
“President Abbas told them: All the billions of dollars in the world will not make me give up one inch of the soil of Jerusalem.”
Habbash, who serves as Abbas’s adviser on religious affairs, did not say who made the purported offer to the PA president.
The adviser delivered his speech on behalf of Abbas during a celebration in the PA Mukata presidential compound marking the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. The ceremony was attended by Abbas and several senior PA officials.
“We’re not slaves to the dollar or solar,” Habbash said – a eference to the recent Qatari decision to fund fuel for the power plant in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. He was also referring to the recent delivery of a $15 million Qatari cash grant
to the Gaza Strip. The PA leadership has expressed strong reservations about the Qatari initiative, saying it will embolden Hamas and “consolidate” the split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
“Jerusalem has been sold for $15 million,” he said in an implicit attack on Hamas. “The blood of the [Palestinian] martyrs has been sold for $15 million.”
The PA official again repeated the Palestinian leadership’s vehement opposition to US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled plan for peace in the Middle East, which is also known as the “deal of the century.” He called the unseen plan a “lie” and the “slap of the century.”
Abbas, he noted, was not the only Arab to reject Trump’s upcoming plan. “Some have claimed that the Arabs and Muslims have abandoned and sold Palestine,” he said. “They also claimed that the Arabs and Muslims have abandoned the Palestinians and the Palestinian leadership, and that Israel was penetrating the Arab nation. They also claimed that the US administration was now in control of the Arabs, specifically Saudi Arabia.”
Habbash pointed out that Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab and Islamic countries have rejected Trump’s upcoming peace plan.
“This stance came as a blow to those who are promoting the deal of the century,” he added. “It’s also a blow to those who are behind the deal of the century.”
He was referring to the April 2018 Arab League Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, where Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz criticized Trump’s decision to transfer the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At the summit, the Arab leaders also opposed Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and warned against taking measures that would change the city’s legal and political status.
Habbash quoted Abbas as saying that no Muslim, Christian or Arab would ever give up an inch of Jerusalem.
The PA Minister for Waqf Affairs, Yousef Edais, said in a speech at the ceremony that anyone who does not share the view that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the “State of Palestine can go to the dustbin of history.”
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