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Palestinian President Vows to Thwart Trump Peace Plan

by AFP

Kevin Hagen-Getty Images North America—AFP

Mahmud Abbas says U.S. president’s actions amount to imposing a deal unilaterally

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Sunday again vowed to oppose any peace proposal by U.S. President Donald Trump as Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) officials met to consider their next moves.

Speaking at the opening of a rare meeting of the PLO’s central council, Abbas said Palestinians were facing perhaps the “most dangerous stage” in their history, highlighting a series of controversial measures taken by Trump including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Abbas has boycotted Trump’s administration since that December decision, though the U.S. president’s team is still expected to release a peace plan in the coming months. Abbas compared the expected Trump proposal to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which saw the British government commit to the creation of a state for Jews in historic Palestine. “If the Balfour Declaration passed, this deal will not pass,” he pledged.

The U.S. has also cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Palestinians, with Trump angered by Abbas’s refusal to meet with him or members of his administration. He has called on Abbas to negotiate, but Palestinian leaders say they are being blackmailed to accept Trump’s terms, which they see as blatantly biased in favor of Israel. “They are still talking about the deal of the era, and that they will present it after a month or two,” Abbas added, saying Trump’s actions amounted to imposing a deal unilaterally.

The Palestinian leader also renewed his support for salaries for families of Palestinians killed or jailed by Israel. Israel brands the payments for families of those who have carried out anti-Israel attacks as encouraging “terrorism,” and the United States has also criticized them. Palestinians see those jailed or killed while carrying out attacks as fighting Israel’s ongoing occupation. “The salaries of our martyrs and prisoners are a red line,” Abbas said.

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