Date :Monday, January 15th, 2018 | Time : 19:47 |ID: 58231 | Print

Abbas: Palestinians to ‘slap back’ for Trump Beit-ul-Moqaddas move



The Palestinian president railed at US President Donald Trump in a fiery, two-hour-long speech on Sunday, saying “shame on you” for his treatment of the Palestinians and warning that he would have no problem rejecting what he suggested would be an unacceptable peace plan.

The speech by Mahmoud Abbas ratcheted up what has been more than a month of harsh rhetoric toward Trump since his recognition of Beit-ul-Moqaddas as Israel’s capital. Relations between Washington and the Palestinians have sunk to a new low, boding poorly for a peace plan the White House has promised to present.

Speaking to the Palestinian Central Council, a decision-making body, Abbas repeated the Palestinians’ opposition to Trump’s Beit-ul-Moqaddas recognition and censured Trump for accusing the Palestinians of refusing to negotiate.

Earlier this month, Palestinian leaders said they will not be “blackmailed” after Trump threatened to cut aid worth more than $300 million annually to force them to negotiate.

“He [Trump] said in a tweet: ‘We won’t give money to the Palestinians because they rejected the negotiations,’ ”

Abbas said, “May God demolish your house. Shame on you! When did we reject the talks? Where is the negotiation that we rejected?”

Trump infuriated Palestinians and Muslims around the world when he announced late last year that the US would recognize Beit-ul-Moqaddas as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there, upending decades of US policy and countering an international consensus that the fate of Beit-ul-Moqaddas should be decided in negotiations.

Abbas has said that by siding with the Israelis on a sensitive issue, the announcement had destroyed Trump’s credibility as a Mideast peace broker.

“We can say no to anyone if things are related to our fate and our people, and now we have said no to Trump,” he said. “We told him the deal of the century was the slap of the century. But we will slap back.”

Abbas also said that the Palestinians have rejected a US request to halt payments to roughly 35,000 families of Palestinians killed and wounded in the conflict with Israel.

Abbas said the Palestinians will not accept the US as a sole broker, and believe a deal can only be reached if there are multiple parties.

He also accused Israel through its actions of ending the 1994 Oslo peace accords that form the basis of Palestinian ties with Tel Aviv, saying the Palestinians would study all strategies for responding to it.

“I am saying that Oslo, there is no Oslo. Israel ended Oslo,” he said, referring to persistent Israeli settlement building and other issues.

Beyond that, Abbas attacked the US ambassadors to Israel and the United Nations, David Friedman and Nikki Haley, calling them a “disgrace.”

Both Trump appointees have been strong supporters of Israel, with Friedman having backed Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

AP and AFP contributed to this story.

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