Abbas calls creation of a state that doesn’t include Jerusalem impossible; ‘We rejected this deal from the start and our stance was correct’
By Dov Lieber
Updated Jan. 28, 2020
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan shortly after it was unveiled on Tuesday, saying a Palestinian state without Jerusalem was impossible.
“We say a thousand times, no, no, no to the deal of the century,” Mr. Abbas said, in a reference to the peace accord President Trump hoped to broker. “We rejected this deal from the start and our stance was correct.”
Even before the long-awaited proposal was announced in Washington, tense U.S. relations with the Palestinians had thrown into doubt Mr. Trump’s efforts to bridge the differences with the Israelis.
Protests organized by Palestinian leadership began in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Tuesday, before the plan was released. Some protesters clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and carried signs saying “down with the deal of the century.”
In anticipation that the plan would strongly favor the Israelis, the Palestinian Authority has threatened to cut its security and economic relations with Israel formed in previous peace talks.
In a his speech Tuesday night, Mr. Abbas said the Palestinian leadership would take measures to redefine the role of the Palestinian Authority, without elaborating.
Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, strongly rejected Mr. Trump’s plan, especially the demand that the group disarm.
“When Trump and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu talk about disarming Gaza, it’s delusional,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem wrote in a tweet.
Mr. Abbas said he had called Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza, and said he would consider visiting Gaza soon.
The Palestinians say the U.S. over the past two years has veered radically from the accepted contours of a peace framework and imposed a series of punitive measures that undermined any claim to be a neutral arbiter between themselves and the Israelis.