U.S. out of peace talks, Palestine looks for alternatives



Wed, 27 Dec 2017 - 10:40 GMT


Wed, 27 Dec 2017 - 10:40 GMT

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the 34th session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2017 - REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the 34th session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2017 - REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

CAIRO – 27 December 2017: Palestine said that several countries announced their initial approval to participate in the peace process talks instead of the United States which was described as an "unfair" and "disqualified" mediator more than once by President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to an unnamed source described to be close to the Palestinian president by Al-Hayat, a London-based newspaper, the United States has been trying to resume peace talks again with the Palestinian side.

The source affirmed that the American administration was trying to deliver messages to the Palestinian authorities explaining that moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem does not mean its withdrawal from peace talks, and that the decision does not mean they decided the state's final borders. It was added that more details about the Jerusalem situation will be determined only through negotiations between Palestine and Israel.

“We received several messages from the U.S. urging us to go back to peace talks; however, we are fully aware of American intentions and believe that the solution the administration is seeking will be temporary rather than a permanent one,” the official source said.

He added that the U.S. solution included reckoning Abu Deis village located in Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital instead of Jerusalem, and connecting it with a bridge with Al-Aqsa Mosque. According to BBC on December 26, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh affirmed in statements that they have indeed received the American suggestion regarding Abu Deis village in exchange for abandoning Jerusalem. “This deal will eliminate our cause completely,” Haniyeh stated.

Executive Committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Ahmed Majdalani said in statements to Al-Hayat that the Palestinian state did not withdraw from the peace process, however, “we are searching for alternatives to the U.S. to serve as mediators. China and Russia along with other countries agreed to take part in the negotiations," according to Majdalani's statements.

He affirmed that the American side has proved to be biased towards the Israeli side; “therefore we will not accept them anymore as part of the peace process unless they accept our conditions.”

All of the alternative solutions to search for another home, or capital were affirmed to be completely refused by the Palestinian government.

On December 24, the United States announced a major reduction in its United Nations' budget up to $285 million. The statement was issued by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

It stated that the budget for the 2018 -2019 fiscal year has been negotiated at a reduction of $285 million from the 2016 -2017 financial budget.

“The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked. This historic reduction in spending – in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN – is a big step in the right direction. While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we will continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency‎ while protecting our interests,” said Haley.

The U.S. currently provides about 22 percent of the annual budget, or about $3.3 billion per year, according to PolitiFact.

This move was considered as an American response to the international stance refusing its decision regarding Jerusalem, especially after the U.S. president's threat to cut aid from countries that voted against his decision in the Security Council on December 18 and the General Assembly on December 21.

He said in statements to reporters at the White House that he is watching all the countries that vote against him after taking millions and even billions of dollars.

“I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations, all of these nations take our money and then vote against us at the Security Council or at the assembly.

They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then vote against us...well, we are watching those votes. Let them vote against us; we will save a lot. We do not care,” Trump stated.

He added that good Americans are tired of being taken advantage of, “well, we’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”

In her speech at the United Nations General Assembly on December 21, Haley said, “America will put its embassy in Jerusalem. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference to how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries (that) disrespect us in the UN and this vote will be remembered.”

In a televised speech from the White House on December 6, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "Through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have refused to acknowledge Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Today, we acknowledge that Jerusalem is the Israeli capital. It is the right thing to do. It is something that has to be done," Trump stated.



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