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Abbas Warns ‘Fateful and Dangerous’ Measures In The Works

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas gestures as he speaks during a Christmas lunch with members of the Christian Orthodox community on January 6, 2016 in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Mahmud Abbas dismissed weeks of rumours the Palestinian Authority could collapse, saying he would 'never give up' on it. AFP …
THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that the Palestinians are planning to make “fateful and dangerous decisions on important issues in the next two months,” leading to speculation that he intends to sever ties with Israel. 

He reiterated his rejection of President Donald Trump’s as-yet unveiled peace proposal.

“We have rejected — and will continue to reject — this deal,” Abbas said at a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee in Ramallah. “As far as we’re concerned, this deal is finished, and we no longer care about it.”

Abbas did not expound on what decisions he was considering but said that all moves would first be approved by the PLO Central Council. According to the Jerusalem Post, Abbas seemed to be referring to previous recommendations by the Central Council and the PLO’s parliament, the Palestine National Council, to cut ties with Israel.

He said Israel’s “measures at al-Aqsa Mosque were no longer tolerable,” referring to an incident on Friday in which Palestinians responded to the increased number of Jews visiting the site recently by hurling stones at Israeli police.

At the end of Saturday’s meeting, the PLO Executive Committee issued a statement in which it claimed that Israel’s recently passed Jewish State bill is a “fulcrum” and “integral part” of Trump’s peace plan.

The committee further said Abbas had outlined his plans to thwart Trump’s “deal of the century,” which it said was “aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian national project, and destroying the two-state option.”

The statement reiterated the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to continue payments to Palestinian terrorists and their families.

Last week Abbas vowed that his government will continue the payments even if “we have only a penny left.”

“We will not accept a cut or cancellation of salaries to the families of martyrs and prisoners, as some are trying to bring about,” he told representatives of an advocacy group for Palestinian prisoners.

Around 35,000 families of Palestinians killed, wounded or serving sentences in Israeli prisons receive monthly remunerations of as much as $3,500. In 2018 the PA’s so-called “pay-for-slay” scheme amounted to approximately $330 million, which constitutes seven percent of the Palestinian Authority’s $5 billion budget.

“Even if we have only a penny left, we will give it to the martyrs, the prisoners and their families,” he said Monday.

“We view the prisoners and the martyrs as planets and stars in the skies of the Palestinian struggle, and they have priority in everything.”

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