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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a news conference following the extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey.(Photo by: REUTERS/OSMAN ORSAL)
Abbas reaffirms US no longer an interlocutor in the peace process
By ADAM RASGON
12/13/2017
"Israel is an occupying state (and) Israel is a terror state," said Turkey's President Erdogan.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday reaffirmed that the Palestinians will no longer work with the US as an interlocutor in the peace process between themselves and Israel.

Abbas made the comments at an emergency session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul, which was called for in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decisions last Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiate the relocation of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the city.

“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,” Abbas, who was visibly frustrated, said in a hour-long speech, which was attended by Jordanian King Abdullah, Turkish President Rajab Tayyip Erdogan and other Muslim leaders.

Last week, the PA president made a similar comment after Trump announced his decisions regarding American policy on Jerusalem.

Since the early 1990s, the US has served as the primary interlocutor in the peace process, frequently meeting with leaders from both sides and hosting negotiations between them.

Abbas instead called for the the United Nations to take responsibility for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the creation of a new mechanism to implement international law pertaining to it.

Over the past week, a number of Abbas advisers have said that a multilateral framework for the peace process should be established, which includes international powers such as Russia, China and France.

It is unclear how a multilateral framework would bear tangible results for the Palestinians, as Israel has previously refused to work with such frameworks.

Abbas also said the Palestinians would turn to the UN Security Council to request full membership in the UN even if the US threatens to block them.

“We will go…with your support and help next week. If they refuse to give it to us, we will go again the following week. And if they refuse to give it to us then, we will go the week after that,” Abbas said of a making a request for full membership at the UN.

Abbas also threatened to abandon the Oslo Accords, which created the PA in the early 1990s.

“Israel’s continuing violations and colonial practices especially in Jerusalem is making us exempt of the signed agreements with it,” Abbas said. “We cannot remain an authority without authority and under an occupation with no price.”

Abbas has vowed numerous times to leave behind the Oslo Accords and dismantle the PA, but has never implemented such a move.

During his speech in Istanbul, however, he said the Palestinians are serious this time about leaving the Oslo Accords.

“Some people told us that you are saying you will do something without doing it,” he said. “But we are going to say and do. At the necessary time, we are going to tell the Israelis we are not committed to any agreement between us and you.”

The PA President also called on members of the international community to review their “recognitions of the State of Israel as long as it insists on violating international law and all international resolutions.”

Most of the international community recognizes Israel including the Palestine Liberation Organization, for which Abbas serves as chairman. He did not say if the PLO planned to rescind its recognition of Israel.

Following his speech, Abbas met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun to discuss strategy in pushing back against Trump’s decisions on Jerusalem.
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