Abbas Sets Back Cause of Peace

Summary: On Dec. 13, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas announced he would no longer seek to negotiate peace with Israel. In a blistering address, Abbas said the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) no longer considered itself bound by previous peace agreements with Israel and called on all nations to break off diplomatic relations with Israel. Abbas’ dangerous new course will set back the cause of peace. Rather than threatening Israel and America, Abbas should end extreme statements and condemn incitement to violence. Israel is ready for direct talks; the Palestinians should join it at the table.

President Abbas has rejected the basis of peace talks.

  • On Dec. 13, PA President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a blistering speech to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in response to President Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital—a policy long supported by bipartisan majorities in Congress. President Abbas:
  • Demanded countries “review their recognition of the State of Israel” and consider breaking off diplomatic relations.
  • Declared that Palestinians would no longer be bound by previous agreements with Israel.
  • Denied any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem, stating, “It is a Palestinian Arab Muslim Christian city, the eternal capital of the state of Palestine.” He went on to falsely accuse Israel of violating the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
  • Rejected direct, bilateral talks with Israel and announced his intent to use the international community to impose conditions on Israel. He called on countries to support Palestinian efforts to “join all international organizations and treaties as a natural right for them in order to affirm the existence of the State of Palestine in the international system.”

President Abbas should meet with American leaders and return to talks.

  • President Abbas should reverse his decision to boycott a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence. The vice president is traveling to the region next week and was set to meet Abbas. Boycotting American leaders will neither advance peace nor help the Palestinians achieve their aspirations.
  • Abbas has embarked on a dangerous course bound to inflame tensions and instigate violence. His remarks will only harm the chances for peace.
  • Instead, Abbas should immediately return to direct, bilateral negotiations with Israel, which is the best path to achieve a durable peace agreement.