PA Accused of Using Alleged Freeze in U.S. Relations for Internal Disputes

AP/Evan Vucci

TEL AVIV — An alleged decision by the Palestinian Authority to freeze PLO meetings with the Trump administration drew responses from other PLO members, including some groups who accused the PA of using the alleged decision in their internal disputes.

The Trump administration on Tuesday rejected the PA claim that contacts were frozen, purportedly over a U.S. threat to close the PLO’s Washington, DC office.

The Hamas terrorist group rejected attempts by the Palestinian Authority to use media reports of the freeze in order to put pressure on Hamas’ delegation to reconciliation talks.

Hamas’ response came in wake of comments made by Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abou Rudeyna, who stated, “Hamas must accept these courageous steps in order to return to legitimization and not to allow any outside source to interfere in the Palestinian issue.”

Abou Rudeyna suggested that the alleged freeze shows that the Palestinian leadership has repulsed American political pressure. But Hamas spokesman Sami Abou Zuhru was unmoved by the attempt of the Palestinian presidency to connect the decision to the issue of reconciliation.

According to Zuhru, “Abou Rudeyna’s comments are an attempt to mix different cards. We enjoy revolutionary legitimization and political legitimization and we don’t need to be graded by anyone.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority officials continued to try to display power in their declarations against the Trump administration. Hussam Zumlut, the PLO’s chief representative in Washington, said, “We will respond appropriately and respond to their decisions in alignment with international and diplomatic rules.”

According to Zumlut, representatives in Washington are continuing their work as usual: “We are even trying to leverage this crisis in order to regulate the situation of our representatives in Washington so that they won’t be subject to threats of closure through bills that are the product of pressure exerted by pressure groups that seek to spread extremist Israeli positions without assessing the implications that harm the American interest and the role of the American mediator as an honest broker on the road to comprehensive peace.”