EXCLUSIVE – PLO Official on Trump-Abbas Meeting: ‘We Can Stand Up to American Pressure’

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
AP/Virginia Mayo

TEL AVIV – Ahead of President Donald Trump’s White House meeting today with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Wassel Abou Youssef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, told Breitbart Jerusalem in an interview that the Palestinians are expecting to be pressured by the U.S. administration on multiple fronts.

Youssef recommended that Abbas should not “say yes to everything America asks of us,” and proclaimed that the Palestinians throughout history “proved that we can stand up against American pressure.”

Youssef claimed the Trump administration “continues to give all its support to Israel and is committed to protecting Israel’s interests. The administration backs Israel in all the international institutions and we aren’t hoping that this administration will change its policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after Trump’s meeting with Abbas.”

Nonetheless, Youssef opined that “the dialogue with the American administration is important and it’s essential it be based on the UN resolutions on the Palestinian issue, primarily a solution to the refugee problem and an end to the occupation.”

The Palestinians traditionally consider the entire State of Israel to be occupied territory. Here, Youssef was referring to the pre-1967 borders, meaning an Israeli withdrawal from the entire West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem.

Youssef said he is expecting Trump to pressure the Palestinians. “We are aware of this fact, we know that this meeting won’t be simple,” said Youssef. “We expect they will demand that we cease our efforts to internationalize the Palestinian issue. But we’ve proved in the past that when the solutions on offer are not in favor of the Palestinians, we’ve proved that we can stand up to American pressure and the last time there was pressure from [Secretary of State John] Kerry. We don’t say yes to everything America asks of us.”

“The Palestinian issue will continue to be based on three principles,” Youssef stated. “That it is a just cause supported by all the nations of the world, the willingness of the Palestinian people to continue to sacrifice and finally our ability to hold out against pressure.”

Youssef said that at this stage, “The Americans have not formulated a clear strategy of what they would like to see at the end of the process. Even President Trump said that he doesn’t care what solution the two sides choose. And so President Abbas’ meeting at this point is more to test the waters for the positions of the sides. As far as we’re concerned, there’s one central principle: If it isn’t clear that any political process will bring an end to the occupation, there will be no return to negotiations.”