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Abbas rejects Trump peace deal; Martyrs, wounded, prisoners “are the most sacred thing we have" and we will pay them even if there is only "one penny"

Headline: “The [PA] president: The future is ours and we will establish our state soon”

“(Excerpt of a speech by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at a forum on industry organized by the Supreme Council for Innovation and Excellence –Ed.) [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas] emphasized: ‘Following the decisions made by the American administration (including the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem and the cutting of UNRWA funding; see notes below –Ed.), on behalf of the Palestinian people we had to say “no,” we will not allow them to pass. For this reason we rejected the deal of the century (i.e., refers to US President Donald Trump’s as yet unpublished Middle East peace plan), we rejected the workshop in Manama (i.e., refers to US-led conference in Bahrain in June 2019 focusing on economic aspects of Trump's Middle East peace plan), we rejected the Warsaw Conference (refers to US sponsored conference to discuss peace and security in the Middle East; see note below –Ed.), and we have rejected all of these decisions and positions and have stood firm.’

He continued: ‘The government of Israel came and began to do manipulations as is its wont… Its latest invention was that our money, which we give to the Martyrs, prisoners, and wounded, is money given to “criminals and terrorists.” Based on this, the government of Israel decided to deduct this money from the tax money and levies that it collects for us (refers to Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law to deduct terror salaries; see note below –Ed.)… We said “no,” we will not agree to accept the money even if just a single penny is missing, especially [concerning] the Martyrs, because the Martyrs are the most sacred thing we have, the wounded are the most sacred thing we have, and the prisoners are the most sacred thing we have. Therefore we will never abandon them; we will never abandon their families, and even if we are left with just one penny – we will give it to these families.’

 

US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel - On Dec. 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump added that the final borders of Jerusalem will be determined during negotiations. The US embassy was transferred from Tel Aviv and opened in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, the anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence in 1948 according to the Gregorian calendar.

 

US President Donald Trump's administration announced on Aug. 31, 2018 that it was immediately cutting all $360 million of annual American funding to UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). Explaining the decision, the US State Department said, "The fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years – tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries – is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years. The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation."

The move came after the US froze two planned payments to UNRWA in early January 2018 for more than $100 million, and the US administration spoke about the need to reexamine and conduct a reform of the UN body. This occurred after the PA refused to negotiate with Israel and cut diplomatic ties with America following US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Dec. 6, 2017.

 

Warsaw Conference - the US sponsored a conference in Warsaw on Feb. 13-14, 2019, to discuss peace and security in the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the conference. The PA was invited to attend but refused the invitation and requested that Arabs boycott the conference.

 

Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law - Israeli law stating that the PA payments to terrorists and the families of dead terrorists is a financial incentive to terror. The law instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. Should the PA stop these payments for a full year, the Israeli government would have the option of giving all or part of the frozen money to the PA.  The law was enacted by the Israeli Parliament on July 2, 2018, and its first implementation was approved by Israel's Security Cabinet on Feb. 17, 2019, when it decided to withhold 502,697,000 Israeli shekels (approximately $138 million) from the PA. In response, the PA announced it would not accept any of the tax money collected by Israel unless it also included the frozen amount.  During the initial parliamentary vote in 2018, the law's sponsor Avi Dichter said: “The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee received much help in its deliberations... from Palestinian Media Watch who provided us with authentic data that enabled productive and professional deliberations, nuances that are very difficult to achieve without precise data.” [Israeli Parliament website, July 2, 2018]

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