In France, Abbas rails against ‘dishonest mediator’ US
French President Macron says Paris won’t recognize Palestine yet, so as not to marginalize itself as US has done
PARIS, France — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that his people would “no longer accept” any peace plan proposed by the United States following Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Trump administration has been preparing a plan in secret which is expected to be presented to the two sides in 2018.
“The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from the United States,” Abbas said after meeting French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
In an address earlier this month from the White House, US President Donald Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.
The move was hailed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.
Abbas also hit out at efforts by the US to intimidate countries ahead of a vote at the UN on Thursday which saw 128 countries condemn Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Seven countries voted with the US and Israel to oppose the resolution, 35 abstained and 21 were no-shows.
“I hope that the others will learn the lesson and understand that you cannot impose solutions by using money and trying to buy off countries,” he added.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley, noting that Washington made “generous contributions” to the United Nations, had warned that the vote would affect “how Americans… look at countries who disrespect us in the UN.”
Macron repeated his earlier condemnations of the US decision on Jerusalem, but he also ruled out recognizing Palestine as a state unilaterally which France has mooted previously.
“The Americans have marginalized themselves and I am trying to not do the same thing,” Macron told the joint press conference with Abbas.
He added: “The solution will be built around two states so inevitably there will be a moment in the process when there is recognition. I want to do it at a moment that will help build peace on the ground.”
Macron has also ruled out launching a fresh French peace initiative in the short term, saying he is waiting to see what happens with the American effort which Abbas rejected on Friday.
The 40-year-old French leader has stepped up his meetings with leaders from the Middle East in recent weeks, hosting Netanyahu in Paris less than a fortnight ago.
Jordanian King Abdullah II visited on Thursday, the day before Abbas’s arrival.
Macron said he would visit the West Bank in 2018.
“I have committed myself very clearly to doing everything” to further the peace process, Macron said.
Abbas praised Macron’s efforts as a mediator.
“We have trust in you. We respect the efforts made by you and we count heavily on your efforts,” he said.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.