By Israel Hayom—
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent tirade against U.S. President Donald Trump was prompted by a stipulation in Washington’s peace plan that seeks to reduce the role the PA plays in Jerusalem, Israel Hayom learned Wednesday.
Relations between Washington and Ramallah have sunk to a new low following Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. On Jan. 14, in a fiery, two-hour speech before supporters in Ramallah, Abbas railed against Trump, castigating him for his treatment of the Palestinians and warning that the Palestinian leadership will have no problem rejecting an unacceptable peace plan.
The Palestinian leader’s wrath was reportedly evoked by an American proposal to set Abu Dis as the capital of a future Palestinian state, instead of east Jerusalem, as the PA demand.
Abu Dis is a Palestinian town on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It houses Al-Quds University, one of the largest Palestinian universities, and the Arab residents of east Jerusalem consider it an inseparable part of the urban fabric.
Due to its proximity to the Old City, following the 1993 Oslo Accords the Palestinian Authority established a series of government institutions in Abu Dis, including a Palestinian parliament building. However, the Palestinians have refused to shutter government institutions elsewhere in Jerusalem, such as Orient House near Damascus Gate.
The string of deadly terrorist attacks in the area in the 1990s and early 2000s prompted the construction of a security fence to protect the Jerusalem periphery, separating Abu Dis from the city.
Accepting the idea of Abu Dis as the Palestinian capital would effectively subject the area known as the Holy Basin, including all quarters of the Old City, the Temple Mount, City of David, Mount of Olives and the surrounding areas, to Israeli sovereignty, a notion the Palestinians adamantly reject.
Former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert were willing to make significant concessions in Jerusalem to achieve a peace deal with the Palestinians, including essentially relinquishing the notion of a united city, but the Americans know that under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this is not an option.
“It is unfortunate that the Palestinian leadership is seeking to prejudice people against our unfinished plan, which they have not seen. We do not know what they claim to have seen,” a White House official told Israel Hayom.
“We will present proposals directly to the Israelis and the Palestinians at the appropriate time and under the right conditions. In the meantime, we will remain hard at work on a draft plan that benefits both sides while some prejudge and undermine efforts to achieving lasting peace,” he said.