Palestinians: No secret talks with Trump administration

Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh said that any talk about a Palestinian state “is nothing but a deception.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York, U.S., February 11, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York, U.S., February 11, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)
The Palestinian Authority on Saturday denied having any contacts with the US administration regarding US President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled plan for peace in the Middle East.

The denial came in response to remarks by US Ambassador David Friedman, who told the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera network that the Trump administration has “back channels” talks with some Palestinians.

Friedman did not reveal the identity of the Palestinians involved in the alleged talks with the US administration.

He also said there is recognition that some parts of the Trump plan are good for the Palestinians, such as the two-state solution, a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, connecting the West Bank with the Gaza Strip and investment in infrastructure and increasing the size of land offered to the Palestinians.

The PA, which has been boycotting the Trump administration since December 2017, when the US president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reiterated its rejection of the Trump plan and denied having back channels with the US administration.

“I dare Friedman to reveal a name of a single Palestinian official who is in contact with President Trump’s administration,” said PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat.

Referring to Friedman’s talk about a Palestinian capital, Erekat said that the Trump plan “specified that Abu Dis and Kufr Aqab can be named as Palestine’s capital.”

Erekat added: “East Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine, is the Old City of Jerusalem, including Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Musrara, and Salah Edin Street. Lies and distortions of one of the authors of the conspiracy of the century are doomed to failure.”

Ibrahim Milhem, spokesman for the PA government, pointed out that PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in his recent speech before the UN Security Council, repeated Palestinian rejection of the Trump plan and called for establishing a multi-party mechanism for holding an international conference for peace in the Middle East.

Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction also denied having any contacts with the Trump administration.

“The Deal of the Century is rejected from A to Z,” said Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh, referring to the Trump plan. “There is nothing good in it and it cannot serve as a base for talks to launch a credible political process.”

Qawassmeh said that any talk about a Palestinian state “is nothing but a deception.”

“There are no contacts with the American administration,” he added. “The Palestinian position is clear and firm: we want an international multilateral sponsorship with the Quartet (The US, EU, UN and Russia) playing a major role, and the UN being the reference for dialogue.”