The top Palestinian negotiator reiterated that the peace process will not be restarted until Washington rescinds its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
By: Ebin Sandler, World Israel News
The Palestinians’ head negotiator, Saeb Erekat, announced on Tuesday that any peace talks sponsored by the United States would be rejected until the Americans revoke their December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Erekat made these remarks to the Voice of Palestine radio station, reported the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official Wafa news site, referring to any future US-proposed solutions or calls to restart the peace process as “unacceptable to the Palestinian leadership” until US President Donald Trump changes course on the US’ Jerusalem declaration.
Erekat’s comments are consistent with previous statements issued by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who shortly after Trump’s announcement declared that the US had effectively resigned from its historical role as the primary peace broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Abbas has also maintained that he refuses to meet with American officials.
The PA response to the US also included lobbying for a United Nations (UN) vote condemning Trump’s move, which was met by threats from the White House to significantly reduce funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is the primary UN body responsible for pumping aid money into Gaza and Judea and Samaria, among other locations in the Middle East with Palestinian populations.
Erekat explicitly referred to these threats on Tuesday, claiming that the Palestinians will not let the US dictate terms of future negotiations. He also reiterated the oft-cited PA position that any future deal must include Jerusalem, declaring, “There is no value to a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital.”