Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday rejected any US role in the peace process with Israel.
In a Christmas message, Abbas alluded to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, accusing the US of bias and ignoring international law. He also rejected the proposed US framework for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians — though the Trump administration has yet to make such a framework public or even finalize it.
“It is because of this US decision to support illegality and the blatant violations of our rights, that we will not accept the US as the mediator in the peace process nor are we going to accept any plan from the US side,” he wrote in the holiday message. “The US chose to be biased. Their future plan for Palestine will not be based on the two-state solution on the 1967 border, nor will it be based on international law or UN resolutions.”
The Trump administration has been preparing a plan in secret which is expected to be presented to the two sides in 2018.
In his speech earlier this month, Trump said, “We are not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”
However, the Palestinian leader alleged that Israel sought a Jewish-only Jerusalem, and that the US president had adopted this position.
“The US decided to support Israel’s claims and rhetoric of an exclusive ‘Jewish capital,’ over the inclusion and respect that a city important to the three monotheistic religions should have,” he wrote. “The US also ignored that East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Occupied State of Palestine.”
Alluding to the fact that Trump’s recognition was a fulfillment of a campaign promise which was particularly important to his evangelical Christian supporters, Abbas called upon “world Christians to listen to the true voices of the indigenous Christians from the Holy Land.”
Abbas spoke of the importance of the West Bank city of Bethlehem to Christianity, saying, “Over 2,000 years ago, the message of Jesus was delivered from a humble manger in Bethlehem.” He neglected to note that according to Christian tradition, Jesus preached from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and in the north of the country.
Immediately after Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Palestinian leadership declared that it would no longer participate in peace negotiations hosted by the Americans.
On Thursday the United Nations General Assembly adopted a motion rejecting Trump’s December 6 decision by 128 votes to nine, with 35 abstentions and 21 no-shows.
The text passed Thursday expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,” and affirmed that “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and in this regard, calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.”
As the Christmas message was sent out Abbas was meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to discuss Thursday’s UN resolution.
At a joint press conference, Macron told reporters that, “The Americans have marginalized themselves and I am trying to not do the same thing.”