Mahmoud Abbas reiterated that he no longer accepted the US as a mediator in the peace process with Israel. He also rebuffed a new US framework for peace being developed by President Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jared Kushner, before it has been launched.
The Palestinian leader told a news conference in Paris: “The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from the United States.”
While the details of the US plan are not known, it has been devised for months and there has been an expectation it will be publicly launched in early 2018.
The last round of US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed amid acrimony in April 2014.
Mahmoud Abbas has been emboldened by the outcome of the vote at the UN, which rejected any changes to the status of Jerusalem.
Yesterday’s vote came three days after the US used its power of veto to block a similar resolution at the world body’s smaller, but more powerful, Security Council.
The US had warned countries not to support the latest resolution, threatening to cut off financial aid anyone who backed it.
However, the UN resolution still passed with a decisive majority, as most nations, including the US’ allies, voted in its favor.
The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.
The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state and its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.
Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognized internationally, and all countries currently maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. However, President Trump has told the US state department to start work on moving the US embassy.
The 193-member UN General Assembly held the rare emergency special session at the request of Arab and Muslim states, who condemned President Trump’s decision to reverse decades of US policy earlier this month.
The Palestinians called for the meeting after the US vetoed a Security Council resolution that was similar to the text approved on December 21.
The text put forward by Turkey and Yemen does not mention the US, but expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem”.
The resolution also says “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council”.