Palestinians seek new policy after Jerusalem ‘game changer’

“You cannot just keep an open ended thing where Israel can expand at will on our land” PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said on Sunday.

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December 18, 2017 06:11
2 minute read.
Palestinians seek new policy after Jerusalem ‘game changer’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks following a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Senior Palestinian leaders will meet in Ramallah on Monday evening in order to devise a new strategy for dealing with Israel, the US and the international community, in light of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said on Sunday.

“We don’t take Jerusalem lightly at all. What happened is a real game changer,” she said. The meeting will include members of the PLO Executive Committee, the Fatah Central Committee, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and other ministers.

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Ashrawi said the leadership would have to “reformulate and rework their national strategy based on these developments: Israel is destroying the two-state solution; the US has become complicit in the occupation; the agreements have not been honored; Israel has reneged on all its obligations; and the US has become party to the conflict.” The leaders “need to chart a course ahead,” she said.

The meeting comes five days after PA President Mahmoud Abbas urged the international community, during an emergency meeting of leaders of Muslim states in Istanbul, to reconsider its recognition of Israel. He also said it was unacceptable for the US to have a role in the peace process because it is biased in favor of Israel, and warned that Palestinians might no longer be bound by undertakings from earlier peace talks. He said the Palestinians would seek full membership at the UN and called on the international community, especially European countries, to officially recognize Palestine as a state within the pre-1967 borders.

Ashrawi said that some Palestinian leaders are suggesting that the PLO cancel its recognition of Israel in response to Trump’s move, but added that she did not know if such a proposal would be raised at the meeting. “People are free to present their own ideas and suggestions. That’s the nature of leadership meetings. I can’t tell you it will be presented, but some people are talking about this. Whether they will present it at the meeting or not is another thing,” she said.
Palestinian leader Abbas says Trump's 'crime' over Jerusalem precludes US peace role (Reuters)

“I can’t decide ahead of time what will happen at the meeting but at least people want to see what Israel’s borders are. You cannot just keep an open ended thing where Israel can expand at will on our land.”

PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yousef said he did not expect discussion of canceling recognition of Israel to take place at the meeting. Such a decision would have to be made by the PLO Central Council, which will meet in the near future, he said.

“We will discuss Trump’s decision on Jerusalem. I think the important thing is that the decision violates international legitimacy and we must return to the Security Council and general assembly and international institutions to affirm that it violates international legitimacy and international law,” he said.

Ashrawi said, “People are coming up with all sorts of suggestions and ideas, and we said these all have to be discussed and placed in context and within a new strategy for the future. You do not just pick out ideas here and there. You have to decide how you want your own system to be.” She added that key questions include what the Palestinian relationship to Israel, the US and the international community should be.

“Since there is no peace process and the US has disqualified itself, we have to look for alternatives,” Ashrawi said.

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