“We will not be slaves or servants” to the American peace team, the Palestinian president tells journalists.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
The international conference that will be held this week in Bahrain to discuss the economic elements of the Trump administration’s peace plan will fail, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas told a press conference on Sunday.
The PA is boycotting the event and has urged all Arab countries and businessmen to do the same, because “the economic situation should not be discussed before the political one,” Abbas said. “And as long as there is no political [solution], we do not deal with any economic issues.”
“We will not be slaves or servants to [US peace team] Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt or [American ambassador to Israel] David Friedman,” he added. The Palestinians “will not accept this or let them say whatever they want.”
This is the case even though he admitted that the PA needs “the money and the assistance.”
The primary reason for this is that Ramallah has refused to accept any of the tax revenues Israel collects on its behalf in protest of Israel’s withholding of six percent of it – the amount the PA pays out to Palestinian terrorists and their families. The tax money amounts to 65 percent of the Palestinian budget.
The PA has slammed the Trump administration’s attempt to broker an agreement. Before knowing what was in the economic portion of the peace plan, the PA decried it as an attempt to buy off their political aspirations. Kushner and Greenblatt’s team had worked on the plan over the last two years, coming up with a suite of 179 projects covering areas from education to healthcare.
The $50 billion plan, details of which were released on Saturday, earmarks $24.5 billion to projects in Judea, Samaria and Gaza which could create up to a million jobs.
But Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy chairman of the ruling Fatah faction in the PA, said on Sunday, “We have rejected the idea of economic peace dozens of times in the past. The main issue for us is independence and sovereignty. The current U.S. administration has nothing positive to offer the Palestinians.”
Only a few private Palestinian businessmen are scheduled to go to the conference that will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Bahrain’s capital of Manama. Several Arab countries, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Morocco, will sent delegations.