Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ZOUBEIR SOUISSI)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to hold talks in Cairo on Sunday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi as Palestinians stepped up their attacks on US President Donald Trump’s administration and its upcoming plan for peace in the Middle East.
Abbas is also expected to attend a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital as part of his effort to rally Arab support for Palestinian opposition to the deal of the century. He will also ask the Arab states to help the PA resolve its current financial crisis.
“President Abbas will deliver a speech before the Arab foreign ministers and consult with them about the dangerous situation and the attempt to liquidate the Palestinian cause through the American plan and Israeli measures,” said Majdi al-Khaldi, diplomatic affairs adviser to the PA president.
“The situation has become intolerable after Israel deducted our tax revenues and tariffs, and we are facing a financial crisis. We may need to implement decisions of the Palestinian National Council [PNC].”
The PNC, the legislative authority within the PLO, last year recommended that the Palestinian leadership “revise” relations and signed agreements with Israel in response to Israeli policies and decisions taken by the Trump administration, including recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and cutting US financial aid to the PA and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.
Last week, the World Bank warned of a deepening crisis in the West Bank if the PA and Israel don’t resolve their dispute over the tax and tariff revenues. In February, the Israeli government decided to deduct nearly $10 million a month from the revenues – the sum the Palestinians pay to families of security prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis.
Khaldi said that Abbas will brief Sisi and the Arab foreign ministers on the measures the Palestinians intend to take in wake of Israeli and American policies.
“The Arab countries have always stood with the Palestinian people,” he said. “The Arab countries are now required to provide the Palestinians with a financial safety net and support the Palestinian budget in light of this suffocating crisis.”
On the eve of Abbas’s visit to Cairo, the PA increased its criticism of the Trump administration and the peace deal.
“The Trump team has continued its propaganda campaign to mislead international public opinion and officials and the Arab and Islamic countries, by making statements about the so-called deal of the century,” the PA Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
Commenting on statements by US presidential adviser Jason Greenblatt, who, in an interview with Sky News Arabic on Friday, rejected the use of the term “two-state solution,” the ministry said: “These statements affirm that the decisions of the US administration are not based solely on peace efforts, but on the interests of the US.”
Greenblatt said in the interview that there was no reason to use the term “two-state solution” because each side understood it differently.
“The ministry reiterates that what Greenblatt is talking about has nothing to do with what we can call a peace plan,” the statement read. “Any plan, proposal or deal that is not based on a two-state solution is doomed to fail and will be totally rejected by Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Europeans and the international community.”
The ministry claimed that the Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “teams are working to destroy the Palestinian national project by undermining any chance of establishing a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
The PA ministry claimed that an “influential Zionist settler lobby in the White House was working only for the interests of the occupation.”
Osama Qawassmeh, a member of the ruling Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, also lashed out at Greenblatt. “We have not received your ideas in writing, but we have listened to your statements and seen your actions over the past two years on the ground, which are in violation of international law,” he said. “We need no more clarity in words and deeds.”
The Fatah official was referring to Greenblatt’s statement that the PA is adhering to old concepts that don’t promote peace.
Qawassmeh said that the mere recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “is sufficient to reject anything issued” by Greenblatt and the Trump administration.
“We can’t even accept reading your ideas, which were formulated in absolute conformity with the position of the extreme Israeli Right,” he added. “We want Jerusalem to be the key to peace, and you are trying to make it a place of hatred through your unjust decision. Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine. Greenblatt and his administration are wrong to think that peace is made by pressure, threats and intimidation. Our people and leadership are not afraid of threats.”
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