PA President Abbas Damns U.S. Aid Money, Says ‘Israel a Colonial Project … Nothing to Do with Jews’

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, speaks during a meeting with the Palestinian Central Council, a top decision-making body, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed,l)
AP /Majdi Mohammed

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas lashed out at Jews, Israel, Europe’s leaders and U.S. President Donald Trump in a two-hour speech full of bile and embittered regret.

Addressing a conference of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s Central Council on Sunday, Mr. Abbas declared that “Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region. They asked Holland, which had the world’s largest fleet, to move the Jews.”

“Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with Jews” he continued, ignoring the fact that some of Judaism’s holiest sites are located in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem; the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron; and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.

Mr. Abbas then turned on the United Kingdom, and in referencing the Balfour Declaration, demanded an apology for the document that ensured a Jewish homeland with Jerusalem as its capital.

Mr. Abbas’s speech was part of the Central Council’s two-day conference in Ramallah. The Council is the PLO’s second most important body and it was convened following President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his vow to move the U.S. Embassy accordingly.

Seizing the opportunity to stake out his response President Trump’s Middle East peace efforts, Mr. Abbas described the move as the “slap of the century” and said the Palestinians would refuse it.

“We said ‘no’ to Trump, ‘we will not accept your project’,” he said, arguing that the actions of the U.S. administration had destroyed its credibility as a broker in talks between Israel and Palestine.

“We can say no to anyone if things are related to our fate and our people, and now we have said no to Mr Trump,” he said.

Warming to his theme of anti-Americanism, Mr. Abbas then issued his response to the president’s threat to close the PLO’s mission in Washington and for threatening to cut United States aid to the Palestinians.

Trump said in a Twitter message last week that the U.S. gives the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars each year and gets “no respect or appreciation.”

His ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has said the administration is considering a cut in aid to the U.N. agency that takes care of Palestinian refugees.

“Damn your money!” Mr. Abbas said of Mr. Trump. “He said, ‘I will give you a peace deal.’ The deal turned out to be a mess. He said, ‘We will not pay for the Palestinians because they stopped the negotiations.’ Where are the negotiations?”

Mr. Abbas attacked the U.S. ambassadors to Israel and the United Nations, David Friedman and Nikki Haley, calling them a “disgrace”.

Both Trump appointees have been strong supporters of Israel.

As for the future of Middle East peace negotiations, Mr. Abbas declared that their future chances are somewhat less than zero.

“Today is the day that the Oslo Accords end. Israel killed them,” he said referring to the 1990’s landmark agreements that led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority and envisioned a final resolution to the conflict. “I am saying that Oslo, there is no Oslo.”

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