Leading US voices condemn Abbas for ruling out American role in peace process

WIN hears from American Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee about the Palestinians’ ‘misguided’ rejection of the US as peace negotiator.

By Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News

In separate interviews, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told World Israel News (WIN) that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is making a big mistake if he thinks he could advance the peace process without the United States.

Hoenlein was in Jerusalem to receive the Menachem Begin Prize at a ceremony Monday night in Jerusalem in recognition of his work in strengthening ties between Diaspora Jewry and Israel. Also on Monday, the United Nations Security Council was considering the Egyptian resolution condemning the unilateral US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Hoenlein told WIN, “There is no peace process without the United States. The United Nations is a forum that has proved to be biased and ineffective. Mr. Abbas is doing what he has always done, which is to seek ways to avoid negotiations. He is trying to take advantage of what he views as an opportunity to attack Israel and the US. His misguided efforts undermine prospects for peace.”

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Exercising its veto power at the UN for the first time, the Trump administration torpedoed the resolution on Monday evening. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley cast the veto, blocking the motion, despite 14 other members of the Security Council voting in favor.

‘Palestinians led by criminals and terrorists’

Huckabee told WIN, “There is no partner for peace in Ramallah under the current Palestinian leadership. They continue to fund terrorism, they pay salaries for prisoners who murdered Jews, and they continue to incite in their school curriculums.”  Huckabee went on to question the morality of the Palestinian leadership, saying, “They teach that it’s an honorable thing to kill Jews. There can be no peace when people raise an entire generation of young people to embrace hatred, mayhem and violence and when murdering Jewish people is somehow noble.” According to Huckabee, “The Palestinians are led by criminals and terrorists, and until those things change, all the chest-beating in the world does not bring about peace.”

Turning to the Trump declaration on Jerusalem, Hoenlein told WIN, “Across the board the Jewish community has demonstrated consensus, acceptance and appreciation for what the president said.”

Asked about the Reform movement’s initial criticism of Trump’s remarks, Hoenlein said, “Initially they expressed some reservation about the timing, but that has been modified and one can easily say that in this case there is a consensus in the American Jewish community. We all accept that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. That is a statement of fact. It did not change anything on the ground, but it was a recognition of reality and righting an injustice that is decades old.”

Huckabee told WIN that Trump’s announcement could actually bring peace closer. The former Arkansas governor said, “I think it’s going to have a very positive impact on the peace process and here’s why. We’ve seen the delay over the past 21 years. Has that brought peace? It most certainly has not. If anything it has emboldened terrorists who believe that they can achieve their goal by violence.”

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Trump ‘doesn’t fall for bluffs and threats’

Huckabee credits Trump with standing up for the truth. “This is a president who doesn’t fall for bluffs and threats,” he said.

Abbas will pay a heavy price for trying to cut out the United States, Huckabee told WIN. “Abbas says that he won’t deal with the United States. That seems to me like a very foolish move. If there are no contacts toward peace, then Jerusalem is no longer on the table. There is no more discussion about whether the city should be divided up.  Jerusalem has only been the capital of one people in its entire history, and that’s the Jewish people. It’s never been the capital of any other people. Jerusalem should always be the undivided and permanent capital of the Jewish state.”

As for the current relations between Israel and the US, “This administration, from the president on down, is very committed to Israel, to its security, and to the recognition of Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel,” Huckabee said. “This is so significant for many of us in America who longed for this to happen, and we are very proud of our president who had the courage to do what many presidents have been saying and what the law has called for during the past 51 years. The US and Israel are true allies. We have a lot in common, and frankly, we have a lot of the same risks. That’s why it’s important for this alliance to be iron clad and solid as a rock, and it is.”

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