'With all their might,' the Americans 'support the enemy'

Fatah deputy chief: US has never given Palestinians anything substantial

Mahmoud al-Aloul says Palestinian leaders all now agree that decades of cooperation with Washington has only harmed their national struggle

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Mahmoud al-Aloul, member of the Central Committee of Fatah. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Mahmoud al-Aloul, member of the Central Committee of Fatah. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

The Palestinian leadership believes the United States has never given anything of “substance” to the Palestinians, Mahmoud al-Aloul, the deputy chief of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, said.

“Recently we were forced to review all of our relations with the American administrations in recent years, and not just the Trump administration. We assessed that nothing good will come from them for the Palestinian people and the nation, and this is completely clear,” said Aloul in an interview with the London-based Pan-Arab daily Al Quds Al Arabi published Saturday.

When asked by his interviewer whether this was his personal assessment, Aloul responded, according to a translation of the interview Wednesday by the Israeli watchdog Palestinian Media Watch, that this is “the assessment of the entire Palestinian leadership.”

“If we review the relations with all of the American administrations, we see that they have not given the Palestinians anything of substance but rather worked in order to pull the rug out from under their feet by exerting pressures on them, and that with all their might they support [the Palestinians’] enemy that is occupying their lands,” he said.

Mahmoud Abbas (center) attends the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on September 1, 2015. (Flash90)

Following the US decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinian leadership declared that Washington could no longer fulfill the historic and central role in the peace process it has held for over two decades.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Abbas’s Palestinian Authority has been boycotting US administration figures dealing with Mideast peace since US President Donald Trump’s December 6 declaration on Jerusalem, including refusing to meet US Vice President Mike Pence, who left the region Tuesday.

According to the US Consulate in Jerusalem’s website, the United States has been the largest donor of aid to the Palestinians since the signing of the Oslo Accords, a landmark peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, in 1994. This aid has totaled around $600 million annually in recent years.

However, the US froze payments worth $100 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees earlier this month, and the White House and Congress are threatening to further cut aid to the Palestinians.

The Central Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PCC) — the second-highest decision-making body for Palestinians — recently voted to officially declare the US no longer fit to be the sole sponsor of peace talks.

US special envoy Jason Greenblatt (C) shakes hands with Palestinian Water Authority chairman Mazen Ghunaim during the launch of a project to improve access to wastewater treatment and water for Palestinian farmers, on October 15, 2017, in the city of Jericho, in the West Bank. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

The US “has lost its eligibility to function as a mediator and sponsor of the peace process” until it reverses the Jerusalem decision, the council said.

In a speech before the PCC earlier this month, Abbas railed against Trump and mocked senior US officials, referring to the US leader’s peace plan for Palestinian and Israelis as the “slap of the century.”

Trump’s team working on the peace plan have said it is not yet fully formed. There are reports of what the plan contains, but it has not been formally proposed.

The Palestinians have said they are still open to the US playing a role within a multilateral framework to pave the way to a Palestinian state.

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