Arab League toes Palestinian line as Abbas threatens to ‘cut ties’ with Israel, US

The Palestinian leader claimed at an Arab League meeting on Saturday that his regime would take drastic measures in response to Trump’s Mideast peace plan.

By Associated Press

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened Saturday to cut security ties with both Israel and the U.S. in a speech at an Arab League meeting in which he denounced the White House plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The U.S. plan would grant the Palestinians self-rule in parts of Judea and Samaria, while allowing Israel to extend sovereignty over Jewish communities in that region and maintain control over the majority of its capital, Jerusalem.

The summit of Arab foreign ministers in Egypt’s capital Cairo was requested by the Palestinians, who responded angrily to the American proposal.

Abbas said he told Israel and the U.S. that “there will be no relations with them, including the security ties” if terms of the deal are implemented.

The Western-backed Palestinian leadership has been under mounting pressure from ordinary Palestinians and its rivals in the Islamic terror group Hamas to cut off security ties with Israel and the U.S. or even dismantle the increasingly unpopular Palestinian Authority.

That could leave Israel responsible for the complicated and expensive task of providing basic services to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Judea.

The Palestinians have made such threats in the past, with few people taking them seriously. But this time might be different, especially if Israel extend sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as the Jordan Valley, according to the U.S. plan.

Abbas could also cut off agreements with U.S. intelligence agencies to combat Islamic terrorism.

There was no immediate comment from U.S. or Israeli officials on Abbas’ statement.

White House boycott

The Palestinian leader said he refused to take U.S. President Donald Trump’s phone calls and messages “because I know that he would use that to say he consulted us.”

“I will never accept this solution,” Abbas said. “I will not have it recorded in my history that I have sold Jerusalem.”

He said the Palestinians remain committed to establishing a state with its capital in Jerusalem, which has remained the Jewish people’s focal point since biblical times and has served as the capital of the modern state of Israel since its inception

Abbas said the Palestinians wouldn’t accept the U.S. as a sole mediator in any negotiations with Israel. He said they would go to the United Nations Security Council and other world and regional organizations to “explain our position.”

The Arab League‘s head, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, said the proposal revealed a “sharp turn” in the long-standing U.S. foreign policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The League’s final communique said Arab foreign ministers “reject the U.S., Israeli deal of the century.”

It cited the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative as an Arab accepted settlement to the conflict. The initiative offers Israel normal ties with Arab states in return for Palestinian statehood on territory Israel gained in 1967.

These borders are widely recognized by Israel as unacceptable due to security threats from foes like Iran and its proxies.

President Trump unveiled the long-awaited proposal Tuesday in Washington. Under the plan, the Palestinians would be granted statehood in Gaza, scattered chunks of the West Bank and some neighborhoods on the outskirts of Jerusalem, all linked together by a new network of roads, bridges and tunnels. Israel would control the state’s borders and airspace and maintain overall security authority.

The plan would end the claim of descendants of those who left territory that became Israel in 1948 that they have a “right” to live in modern day Israel or whatever entity the Palestinians control

The entire agreement would be contingent on Gaza’s Hamas rulers and other terror groups disarming, something they have always adamantly rejected.

Ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman attended the Tuesday unveiling in Washington, in a tacit sign of support for the U.S. initiative.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Arab states that are close U.S. allies, said they appreciated President Trump’s efforts and called for renewed negotiations without commenting on the plan’s content.

Egypt urged in a statement that Israelis and Palestinians “carefully study” the plan.

The Egyptian statement did not mention the long-held Arab demand of eastern portions of Jerusalem as the capital of any future Palestinian state — as Cairo has in past statements related to the conflict. The country’s foreign minister, however, said in his speech to the league that Egypt backs a comprehensive, fair settlement of the Palestinian cause, one that eventually leads to a Palestinian state on the 1967 territories with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Jordan, meanwhile, warned against any Israeli “annexation of Palestinian lands” and reaffirmed its commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, which would include all of Judea and Samaria and Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel.