(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Palestine Liberation Organization’s envoy to the US, Husam Zomlot, will return to Washington next week, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said, after PA President Mahmoud Abbas recalled the top Palestinian diplomat in the American capital.
On Sunday night, official PA media reported that Maliki recalled Zomlot for consultations, without elaborating, but subsequently deleted the report from its websites.
Later on Sunday, the official PA news agency Wafa issued a new report that said Abbas ordered Zomlot to come to Ramallah to consult about “what happened at the UN General Assembly and future steps that will be taken.”
On December 21, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution that rejected US President Donald Trump’s changes to American policy on Jerusalem.
In early December, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated a process to relocate the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city, breaking with decades of American policy. Nonetheless, the US president said the final status of Jerusalem would be up to Israel and the Palestinians to decide.
US President Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announces embassy to relocate
Zomlot posted on his Facebook page that he met with Abbas “for hours” and received orders to return to “the battlefield in Washington.”
Responding to Trump’s moves on Jerusalem, Abbas has said the Palestinians will no longer work with the US as an interlocutor in the peace process between themselves and Israel.
“We do not want America... after these decisions we will not accept them... as long as they act like this we do not want them,” he told the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in a speech in mid-December.
A number of Abbas’s advisers and Zomlot have said the Palestinians want a new international mechanism to sponsor the peace process.
In mid-December, Nabil Shaath, Abbas’s adviser for international affairs, called for the establishment of a multilateral framework for the peace process.
“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 in a phone interview. “We believe the peace process should reflect this reality.”
It it is unlikely that Israel would agree to work with a multilateral framework for the peace process, as it has long preferred the US to be the sole sponsor of peace talks.