Abbas condemns US and Israel during summit in Tunisia, focuses speech on lies and slander ahead of the Trump peace deal to be released in the coming weeks; Abbas: Israel’s control over our funds and the US’s suspension of its financial support… are meant to exert pressure on us in order to force the Palestinian people to give up on our legitimate right in Jerusalem.
The Arab League convened in Tunisia on Sunday to address the United States’ recognition of the Golan Heights, as well as the Trump Administration’s efforts in the region ahead of the publication of its peace deal to be released following Israel’s elections next week.
The 22-member body met in Tunis with the majority of speeches from regional leadership centered on rejecting the United States proclamation on Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and claiming the territory as Syrian. As with the majority of the league’s meetings, support for the Palestinians and rejection of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a central speaking point, with leaders such as King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia reiterating the Kingdom’s support for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas used harsher-than-usual language in condemning Israel, claiming an ongoing violation of international laws and the “plunders our resources.” He claimed “We are about to face a period of challenges as Israel, the occupation state, has destroyed all the agreements and renounced all its commitments to Oslo [Accords] until today. Israel is dismantling the two-state solution through the implementation of destructive policies and procedures, which compelled us to lose hope for peace. We can no longer tolerate or cope with this situation to protect the interests of our people…”
Last month, the Palestinian Authority announced it would not accept tax revenues collected by Israel after it deducted funds paid by the PA for its ongoing “terror salaries”. Under new Israeli legislature, the amount paid by the PA for its “martyrs” and their families is now deducted. On this, Abbas lied and stated Sunday, “Israel is not satisfied with the theft of land and resources, but also cut our tax money on the pretext that we are paying it to martyrs and prisoners… Such practices, which constitute a breach of the agreements, made us insist on receiving all of our money. We will not abandon our people, especially those who sacrificed for Palestine.”
The PA also recently declined US aid due to the new Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) that went into effect last month. The law was passed by the US Congress and Senate to combat funding of terrorism in countries receiving aid from the United States and allows for legal action if funds are used for terrorism. On this Abbas again played the victim and used the situation to claim attacks by Israel and the US on its religious sites to Arab leaders and representatives. He claimed, “Israel’s control over our funds and the US’s suspension of its financial support, estimated at $844 million a year, are meant to exert pressure on us, in order to force the Palestinian people to give up on our legitimate right in Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque [the Dome of the Rock] and the Church of the Resurrection. However, Jerusalem is not for sale. Palestine will never make sense without having Eastern Jerusalem and its holy sites as its capital.”
Specifically on the Trump Administration’s extensive action in combatting the Palestinian’s lies and efforts internationally, he accused, “The US government terminated the two-state solution, nullified the status of the occupation of the Palestinian territories and declared its recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied-Syrian Golan Heights. This is unacceptable for us and the entire world. Thus, we expect that the US will commit greater and more dangerous violations…” The Trump Administration has been clear that any final peace deal would be decided by Israel and the Palestinians- not the White House.
Abbas praised Jordan and King Abdullah II for its “protection” of Israel’s Muslim and Christian sites, alleging that they are working together to stop “vicious violations committed by extremist groups, who are protected by the Israeli government, and to return to the pre-1967 status quo which the Israeli state is seeking to change.”
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