U.S. Jewish Leaders: Abbas ‘Deliberately Distorted’ Trump’s Jerusalem Recognition

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) gestures at the start of a bilateral meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on September 24, 2013 in New York City. Diplomats from around the world have descended on New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty …
Mario Tama/Getty

American Jewish leaders said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sounded the “death knell” of peace efforts with Israel, when he completely denied the Jewish connection to Jerusalem in comments he made following the American announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The statement by the Jewish leaders, issued by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Abbas’s speech at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was “as rejection of peace with Israel.”

“President Abbas has consistently openly promoted the denial of any Jewish connection to Jerusalem to his own people, in the UN and its agencies and bodies, and in international legal fora,” the statement by Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations chairman Stephen M. Greenberg and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said. “His threat to go to the United Nations to undo the US measure – which it cannot do – and to gain recognition of the State of Palestine is the death knell for negotiations. His speech today at the OIC summit in Istanbul is also the latest attack on foundational beliefs of the Jewish faith and historical truth.”

In the OIC meeting held on Wednesday, Abbas said the Palestinians would never accept any role the US would play in the peace process due to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Abbas also threatened to pull out of existing agreements with the Jewish state and suggested that the UN should take over as mediator from the US.

Abbas said there could be “no peace or stability” in the Middle East until Jerusalem is recognized as the capital of a Palestinian state. He was not differentiating between the eastern and western parts of the city. The OIC session included leaders and representatives from more than 50 member states.

Abbas, the US Jewish leaders said, “deliberately distorted” Trump’s recognition by ignoring the fact that the US president’s statement “did not define boundaries or borders, and that the US would support whatever the parties agree to” and instead “cast the move as an attack on Islam.”

The statement also said that Abbas’s refusal to negotiate “in good faith” in recent years was the real reason a peace agreement has not yet been achieved.

“It is up to responsible leaders in the region and around the world to prevent President Abbas from proceeding toward a dangerous dead end,” the statement said.

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