Yesterday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a two-hour plus speech to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council held in Raballah, West Bank. During this speech, Abbas attacked U.S. President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel recently and vowing to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is against decades of past U.S. policy. Abbas also said to Trump, “Damn your money.”
This remark was in the response to President Trump’s threat, made public through U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, that the U.S. may withdraw its hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the Palestinian Authority (PA) through the UN due to Trump’s allegation that the PA is refusing to re-enter the peace process. Abbas’ retort is that there is no peace process.
Soon after Trump made his announcement about Jerusalem and the U.S. embassy, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution condemning his decision. Right before it did, UN Ambassador Haley threatened that the U.S. would retaliate against any nation that voted in favor of this resolution.
Abbas also reiterated in his speech yesterday, what he has said in the past days, that this decision by President Trump has rendered the U.S. a non-credible peace broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that the PA will no longer work with the U.S. in any future peace process. I think if this happens, the U.S. will be the loser for it. That is, it will lose important influence in the Middle East. But regarding the still dead peace process, it may be the best thing for reinvigorating it. Europe and perhaps the UN need to step up to plate and fill in the vacuum resulting from a vanishing U.S. as peace broker.