Abbas warns officials not to lash out at Arab countries
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Abbas warns officials not to lash out at Arab countries

PA leader’s statement comes after Palestinian sources are quoted accusing regional allies of colluding with Trump

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas attends a meeting with the Revolutionary Council of the ruling Fatah party on March 1, 2018, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas attends a meeting with the Revolutionary Council of the ruling Fatah party on March 1, 2018, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

Any Palestinian official who speaks out against Arab governments or leaders will be held accountable for “harming Palestinian and Arab national security,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned on Sunday.

The warning came following a series of critical statements, attributed to senior Palestinian officials, claiming that some Arab countries have been pressuring Abbas to accept US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled peace plan.

Most of the criticism, which appeared in various Arab media outlets, was directed at Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two countries that some PA officials have claimed are “colluding” with the Trump administration to “impose” the peace plan on the Palestinians.

Other Palestinian officials have also accused the Arab countries of failing to take a tougher stance toward Trump’s December 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his recent decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Palestinian Football Association (PFA) head Jibril Rajoub holds a press conference on October 12, 2016, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Abbas’s decision may also be linked to recent statements by top Fatah official Jibril Rajoub, who recently criticized Egypt’s mediation efforts between Fatah and Hamas.

In a statement published by the PA’s official news agency Wafa on Sunday, Abbas “affirmed the fixed Palestinian position of non-interference in the internal affairs of the Arab countries or offending them.”

Abbas said it was forbidden to offend or slander any of the leaders of the Arab countries, according to the statement.

“Any member of the Palestinian leadership who does so will be held accountable for causing harm to the Palestinian and Arab national security,” he cautioned.

Abbas expressed “appreciation” for Arab countries’ support for the Palestinians and their rejection of the Trump decisions on Jerusalem and the embassy.

He also hailed Arab countries for endorsing his own February 20 address to the United Nations Security Council. In that speech, Abbas called for a “multilateral international mechanism” to pave the way for Palestinian statehood.

Arab League foreign ministers last week expressed full support for Abbas’s vision and called for convening an international peace conference.

The announcement came at the end of a meeting in Cairo, where the Arab ministers also expressed support for Abbas in his standoff with the Trump administration.

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