Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said the United States withdrew from its role as an interlocutor in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, responding to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiate the relocation of the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“These condemned and unacceptable measures are a deliberate undermining of all efforts exerted to achieve peace and represent a declaration of the United States’ withdrawal from undertaking the role it has played over the past decades in sponsoring the peace process,” Abbas said in a televised speech.
Earlier on Wednesday in a speech at the White House, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and set the process in motion to relocate the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
However, the American president said the final status of Jerusalem would be subject to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians hope the capital of a future Palestinian state will be in east Jerusalem. According to Palestinian officials, the US recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and starting a process to relocate its embassy in Israel there are equivalent to siding with Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem.
US President Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announces embassy to relocate
Abbas also said Trump’s decisions “reward Israel for denying agreements and defying international law, and encourage it to continue its policy of occupation, settlements, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.”
Late Wednesday, Abbas spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani about Trump’s decisions on Jerusalem, according to the official PA news site Wafa.
In his speech, Abbas added that the different Palestinian leadership bodies will be convened in the coming days including the Palestinian Central Council, a major PLO body.
Hamas Politburo chairman Ismail Haniyeh slammed Trump’s decision, saying it will “not change the facts of history and geography.”
Haniyeh also said that “Palestinian people know how to respond appropriately to contempt for their feelings and holy sites.”
Hamas on Tuesday
called for Palestinians to take to the streets in a day of rage on Friday
Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that US President Donald Trump destroyed the possibility of achieving a two-state solution.
In his remarks, Trump said that he would back the two-state solution, if both the Palestinians and Israelis agreed to it.
Erekat also said the American president’s moves are “prejudging, dictating and closing doors for negotiations.”
A general strike was announced on Wednesday in some Palestinian cities such as Hebron. There are also a number of planned protests.
Earlier on Wednesday, Fatah Central Committee member Nasser al-Qudwa called for “non-violent” and “unarmed” protests.
“We call for actual participation in different expressions of anger,” Qudwa, a former ambassador to the UN, said. “We call for [these expressions of anger] to be done in a non-violent and unarmed way.”
Some Palestinian officials have warned that violence will break out because of Trump’s decisions.