Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vowed Saturday to reject the Trump administration’s “deal of the century” for Israeli-Palestinian peace and decried what he called efforts to separate the West Bank from the Gaza Strip.
Abbas’s remarks came as Israeli television reported US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace envoy has said the White House will soon publish its peace plan and both Israel and the Palestinians would need to make compromises.
In a speech marking 14 years since the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s death, Abbas said Palestinians were in “one of the most dangerous stages” in their history and still contending with the “conspiracy” of the Balfour Declaration, a 1917 statement pledging British backing for a Jewish state in historic Palestine.
“The occupation will end,” Abbas said, while reiterating he will only accept a peace deal that establishes a Palestinian state on the so-called 1967 lines with a capital in East Jerusalem.
“We will remain on our land and continue to act. We adhere to our principles. Our flag will continue to be raised on the walls of Jerusalem,” he added, according to Channel 10 news.
Abbas has boycotted the Trump administration since its December 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Since then, the US has cut aid for Palestinians and taken other measures over the Palestinian rejection of American-led peace talks, including shutting down the Palestine Liberation Organization’s offices in Washington, DC.
The US has also ended all funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, which it indicated at the time was due to how the agency confers refugee status not only on original refugees but on their millions of descendants, something not granted by the UN to refugees from other places.
In his speech Saturday, Abbas said the aid cuts to UNRWA were aimed at the US “liquidation of the Palestinian cause” and vowed to oppose any efforts to weaken the agency or change how it counts refugees.
The PA leader’s speech came as Channel 10 news reported that Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt has said the US will soon release its peace plan, but did not provide a specific date.
“Neither side will like everything writing in the peace plan and there will be a need to compromise,” the report quoted Greenblatt saying in London Wednesday to a group that raises funds for Israeli soldiers.
“But we’re sure that if the two sides agree to enter negotiations they will understand why we reached the conclusions that will be presented in the peace plan,” he reportedly added.
He said the US plan would push for a deal that brings an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than pursue interim agreements, which he was quoted saying “only extend the cycle of suffering and violence.”
Greenblatt also called for Trump’s peace plan to be weighed on its merits and said many reported details on its contents were false.
“Judge our peace plan according to what it is supposed to be: a proposal for a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian process,” he said, according to the report.