Palestinians will reject any US role in peace process: Abbas

Paris/Ramallah: Palestinians will reject any US  role in peace efforts with Israel, President Mahmud Abbas said on Friday, a day after the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to rebuke Washington over its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Abbas was in Paris to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, who said the US  has “marginalised itself” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The UN resolution passed with 128 votes in favour and nine opposed. The US cautioned it was “taking names” and could cut assistance to critics who voted for the resolution.
It has yet to announce exact measures, with several of the largest recipients of US  aid defying the warning. “It is because of this US decision to support illegality and the blatant violations of our rights that we will not accept the US as the mediator in the peace process, nor are we going to accept any plan from the US side,” Abbas said in a statement.
“The US decided to support Israel’s claims and rhetoric of an exclusive ‘Jewish capital,’ over the inclusion and respect that a city important to the three monotheistic religions should have,” said his statement ahead of Christmas.
Macron told journalists that he was against US President Donald Trump’s “unilateral” decision on Jerusalem but that he would also refrain from immediately recognising Palestine as a state. “That would be a reaction to another unilateral decision that has led to unrest in the region,” said the French leader.
More than 130 nations recognise Palestine, which was admitted as a non-member observer state to the UN in 2012, following a vote in the General Assembly. On the ground in the Palestinian territories, two people were killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli security forces, local medics said.
Dozens were injured, including from tear gas inhalation, in fresh clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces in Gaza and the West Bank. “Troops are responding with riot dispersal means.
In addition, during the violent riots, IDF soldiers fired live rounds selectively towards main instigators,” the Israeli military said in a statement, using an acronym for itself.
The death raises to seven the number of Palestinians killed by gunfire since Trump announced his decision on December 6.
Abbas has repeatedly indicated he wants the UN to take a greater role in the stalled peace process so that Washington is no longer the driver of any deal.
During his campaign, Trump had pledged he would forge a lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said US threats on cutting aid to those who criticise the superpower over Jerusalem area was danger to the UN and international order. “Such blackmails deal a blow to the character of such institutions as the UN, which are the backbone of the international system,” Erdogan said in Ankara. “No country has the right to blatantly threaten the entire world,relying on its own financial and political strength,” said the Turkish leader, who had pushed for the UN General Assembly session a day earlier. Trump also plans to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, sparking global outrage, especially among Arabs and Muslims.
Europe too has largely rejected the measure. A UN Security Council resolution criticising the US failed only due to Washington’s veto power, as even allies Britain and France voted against Trump’s announcement on the contested city.
Palestinians hope East Jerusalem will be the capital of their future state, but Israel claims the whole city as its capital. — DPA