Mohammad Shtayyeh gestures during a Palestinian leadership meeting in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 20, 2019. .
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh criticized the Trump administration on Tuesday for “punishing” and “blackmailing” the Palestinians because of the stalemate in the peace process with Israel.
Shtayyeh, who was speaking during a meeting in his Ramallah office with US Senator Ron Wyden, reiterated the Palestinians' rejection of Trump’s unseen plan, also known as the “deal of the century.” The Palestinians, he added, will not accept the continuation of the status quo.
The decisions taken by the US administration, including cutting US financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, are worse than what’s written in its upcoming peace plan, he said on Tuesday.
Last week, Shtayyeh was quoted as saying that the "deal of the century" was "born dead."
This was the first meeting of its kind between Shtayyeh and a US representative since the establishment of the new PA government last week.
The PA has been boycotting the Trump administration since December 2017, when the US president announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. However, contacts between the PA and US Congressmen, senators and representatives of various American organizations have continued.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas said in Cairo earlier this week that despite the boycott, the PA was continuing to work with the US in the field of security, especially with regards to combating terrorism.
Shtayyeh warned that the annexation of parts of the West Bank to Israel would destroy the two-state solution. He also warned that such a move would destroy any chance of establishing an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.
The PA premier told the senator that there was a need to “separate Palestinian-American relations from any peace process in the region,” according to a statement issued by Shtayyeh’s office.
Shtayyeh called on Congress to follow suit with the parliaments of several countries and vote in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state. He also called for reopening the PLO diplomatic missions in Washington DC, which was closed down last year by the Trump administration.
Meanwhile, a Hamas official in the Gaza Strip announced the formation of a new body called “The Higher National Commission for Resisting the Deal of the Century.”
The official, Salah Bardaweel, said that the new body consists of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as the Arab and Islamic states. He said that the new body would discuss mechanisms for thwarting the “deal of the century.” There is no reason why the Palestinians should panic because of the “deal of the century,” Bardaweel said. “Our people have a strong will and ability to resist and seek freedom,” he added, urging all Palestinian factions to resort to “armed and popular resistance” to foil Trump’s upcoming plan.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>