Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday said a peace plan being worked on by US President Donald Trump insulted the Palestinians, calling it a slap in the face, and said the Palestinians would not accept any part of it.
“We told Trump we will not accept his project, the ‘deal of the century,’ which has become the ‘slap of the century,’” said Abbas, expressing Palestinian anger over the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“We do not take instructions from anyone, and say ‘no’ to anyone if it is about our destiny, our cause, our country and our people… 1,000 times no,’” he said, opening a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council in Ramallah.
The meeting, the first in two years, was called to discuss the Palestinian reaction to Trump’s December 6 speech recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in which the US president said his decision merely recognized the reality that Jerusalem already serves as Israel’s capital and was not meant to prejudge the final borders of the city.
After the Trump declaration, Abbas declared that the US could no longer serve as a peacebroker, and instituted a boycott of the Trump administration, canceling a planned meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence and refusing to meet with US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt.
Trump’s move was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum, while enraging Palestinians and prompting condemnations worldwide.
Abbas also said on Sunday that Israel had “ended” the landmark Oslo peace accords of the 1990s with its actions.
“I am saying that Oslo, there is no Oslo,” he said at the start of the meeting. “Israel ended Oslo,” Abbas said, adding that the meeting must take decisions on how to move forward.
Abbas had long defended the need to preserve the Oslo Accords, arguing it allowed for the return of Palestinian leaders in exile and the creation of the Palestinian Authority.
At the same time, Abbas has also threatened a number of times to walk away from the agreements signed during Oslo.
Abbas, in his speech on Sunday, also seemingly confirmed that US officials offered Palestinians the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis as the capital of a future Palestinian state, rather than their sought-after East Jerusalem capital.
Abbas said Abu Dis was “being offered,” though he did not specify that it was by the Americans.
In December, a number of reports said that when Abbas had visited Saudi Arabia in September, the Saudis informed him of the outlines of a peace plan being drawn up by the Trump administration.
Among the elements of the Saudi proposal outlined in the reports was the establishment of the capital of a future Palestinian state in Abu Dis, a suburb of Jerusalem in the West Bank, east of Israel’s security barrier.
In early peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians in the ’90s, the idea of Abu Dis as a Palestinian capital was floated, though it was ultimately rejected.
In 1995, the PA began building its parliament in Abu Dis, but eventually eschewed the massive complex for a location in Ramallah.
The PCC meeting, which is set to finish on Monday night, is meant to chart a new course for the Palestinian national movement.