Palestinian leaders urge PLO to suspend recognition of Israel
RAMALLAH — Palestinian leaders voted on Monday to call for the suspension of recognition of Israel, as they met in response to US President Donald Trump’s acknowledgement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The vote ordered the Palestine Liberation Organisation to suspend its recognition of the Jewish state until Israel “recognizes the state of Palestine,” cancels its annexation of East Jerusalem, and stops settlement activity, a statement said.
It was unclear if the vote by the Palestinian Central Council, a high-ranking arm of the PLO, was binding. A previous vote by the council in 2015 to suspend security coordination with Israel was never implemented.
The vote was 74 in favour, two against, with 12 abstentions, according to an AFP journalist present.
On Sunday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced White House peace efforts as the “slap of the century.”
The rare meeting of the Palestinian Central Council — a high-ranking arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization — was called after Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Palestinians want the city as the capital of their future state and Abbas has said Trump’s stance means the US can no longer be the mediator in peace talks with Israel.
The US president has sought to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, with talks stalled since 2014.
Speaking Sunday evening at the opening of the council, which brings together Palestinians from multiple political parties, Abbas told delegates: “We said ‘no’ to Trump, ‘we will not accept your project.’”
“The deal of the century is the slap of the century and we will not accept it,” the 82-year-old leader added, referring to Trump’s pledge to reach the “ultimate deal.”
He instead called for an internationally mediated peace process.
Israel is unlikely to accept any other mediator than the United States, accusing United Nations bodies of systematic bias against it.
The delegates began meeting Monday morning, with talks expected to end in the evening with a joint statement.
The last meeting of the PCC in 2015 called for the ending of security coordination with Israel, but its decisions were non-binding and it was never implemented.
Abbas’s comments also met with widespread criticism in Israel, particularly the perceived anti-Semitic comments, including denials of a Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. He went so far as to imply that European Jews during the Holocaust chose to undergo “murder and slaughter” rather than emigrate to British-held Palestine, and alleged that the State of Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion imported Jews from Yemen and Iraq to the country against their will.
The Palestinian leader further asserted that the State of Israel was formed as “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism” to safeguard European interests.
Read More: Times of Israel