Abbas tells Congress members on AIPAC-linked trip he won’t accept US ‘dictates’

PA president affirms to Democratic lawmakers in Ramallah his support for two-state solution, slams Israel for ‘insisting on destroying’ agreements with Palestinians

Adam Rasgon is a former Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaking to Democratic members of Congress on August 7, 2019. (Credit: Wafa)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaking to Democratic members of Congress on August 7, 2019. (Credit: Wafa)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a delegation of Democratic members of the US Congress that he will not accept American “dictates,” the official PA news site Wafa reported.

The 41 lawmakers, including Democratic House majority leader Steny Hoyer, arrived in Israel on Tuesday as part of a trip organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, a group connected to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a Washington-based, non-governmental organization that works to strengthen ties between the US and Israel.

Abbas stressed “his rejection of American dictates and decisions related to Jerusalem, refugees, borders and security,” the Wafa report said of the meeting.

Since late 2017,  US President Donald Trump’s administration has angered the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US Embassy to the city, cutting aid to the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees and their descendants, and closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s representative office in Washington.

Abbas also affirmed his support for the two-state solution “according to resolutions of international legitimacy,” the Wafa report added.

The Palestinians have frequently stressed that the two-state formula is the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump’s Middle East peace envoys have resisted endorsing the two-state solution.

In May, Jared Kushner, one of the Middle East peace envoys, told an event at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a US think tank: “If you say ‘two-state,’ it means one thing to the Israelis, it means one thing to the Palestinians. We said, you know, let’s just not say it. Let’s just say, let’s work on the details of what this means.”

Illustrative: Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, left, meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on August 24, 2017. (courtesy, WAFA)

During their meeting with the PA chief, the members of Congress expressed their “complete support” for the two-state solution and achieving peace, the Wafa report also said.

A total of 41 American lawmakers were slated to arrive in Israel on Tuesday “to learn more about issues critical to the US-Israel relationship and international security,” Hoyer’s office said in a statement on Monday. The delegation was also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz.

Abbas also contended that Israel has not respected agreements with the Palestinians and was “insisting on destroying them, a matter that has pushed the Palestinian leadership to decide to halt” their implementation, the Wafa report added.

Abbas announced in late July that the Palestinians decided to halt the implementation of agreements with Israel and would begin creating mechanisms to do so.

The Palestinian leadership has previously threatened to nullify agreements with Israel, but taken little action to carry out such measures.

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