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PA tells Trump “We will not sit with you” to talk about peace plans

Headline: “Senior officials: The [PA] president’s speech at the [UN] General Assembly is a strategy of action and a roadmap for the next stage” 


“PLO Executive Committee Secretary Saeb Erekat... said in surprise: ‘How can the administration of [US President Donald] Trump make peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis at a time when there is no peace between us [the PLO and the US]? [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas cut ties with you after you decided to transfer the embassy to Jerusalem and recognize it as Israel’s capital (see note below –Ed.). We will not sit with you. On the other side, you [Trump] tell the Arabs: “Establish normal relations with Israel (refers to peace agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain under US mediation; see note below –Ed.). This way we are passing over the Palestinian cause, and this way we will make peace and force the Palestinians to come around.”’ 

He continued: ‘It would be fitting that before you (meaning Trump) [parentheses in source] speak about Palestinian-Israeli peace, you should speak about Palestinian-American peace, because you have stopped the aid to our people, you have closed the PLO offices in Washington and the American consul in Jerusalem, you have stopped the aid to UNRWA (see note below –Ed.), and you have proposed a plan for annexation and settlement [of parts of Judea and Samaria].’” 

Saeb Erekat also serves as Fatah Central Committee member and PLO Chief Negotiator

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.

Israeli peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain – an agreement normalizing diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), called the Abraham Accords, was announced on Aug. 13, 2020, under the mediation of US President Donald Trump. Following the UAE, Bahrain signed a similar peace agreement with Israel, as was announced on Sept. 11, 2020. Pursuant to the Abraham Accords, Israel and the UAE will discuss bilateral cooperation on a number of topics. In exchange for the agreement, Israel agreed to suspend its previously announced plans to apply Israel's civilian law to parts of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley as per the Trump peace plan. The US announced that “Muslims throughout the world who wish to come in peace to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque, will now be able to fly to Tel Aviv through Abu Dhabi to do so and will be welcomed.”

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.