Abbas praises global condemnation of Trump Jerusalem announcement


After senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub said last night (Thursday) that US Vice President Mike Pence was "not wanted in Palestine," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman was also quoted as saying the same.

Following Trump's speech, in which the U.S. president recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and ordered the State Department to begin preparations for moving the USA embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, Abbas slammed the move and said the United States has ended its historic role as the key sponsor for Israel-Palestinian peace talks.

To the Palestinian leader, widespread rejection of Trump's announcement internationally sent a message of support for the rights of Palestinian people and their cause - especially as it relates to accepting east Jerusalem as the capital of a would-be Palestinian state.

Four people have now been killed and dozens wounded since Trump announced the move, which drew criticism from every other member of the UN Security Council at an emergency meeting on Friday.

Reuters reported that Egypt's Coptic Church has turned down a meeting request from the vice president due to Trump's decision.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to critics in a statement before meetings in Paris on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron to be followed by a meeting with European foreign ministers in Brussels.

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians set fire to tires and threw stones and firebombs at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and, in a few instances, live fire.

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On Friday, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in protest and two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza border.

There have been fears of a much larger escalation of violence after Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for a new Palestinian intifada and analysts have been anxiously watching what happens next. It is in conflict with the United Nations resolutions on Palestine.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas issued a vociferous condemnation of Trump's announcement as a violation of "all worldwide and bilateral agreements and resolutions", saying the move would disqualify the United States from any future role as mediator in the conflict.

Pence is expected to visit Israel later this month, with a stop in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.

Five European countries on the UN Security Council insisted the new United States policy was not consistent with past resolutions, including one that declares East Jerusalem to be Israeli-occupied.

Abbas "will soon take a harder line toward the peace process and a softer line toward Hamas than he otherwise would have", wrote Ghaith al-Omari of the Washington Institute of Near East Policy.