A senior White House official said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s rhetoric “has prevented peace for years,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday, after Abbas said that President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a “crime,” and threatened to abandon previous agreements reached with Israel.
The anonymous senior administration official reiterated that Trump “remains as committed to peace as ever” and that his administration was “hard at work putting together our plan, which will benefit the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.”
The official also said that the rhetoric “has prevented peace for years” and was described as not surprising.
Abbas has rebuffed Trump’s urging to stop paying terrorists.
After meeting with United States officials in June, Abbas refused their request to stop paying generous salaries to terrorists. In May, an adviser to Abbas called the U.S. request to end payments to terrorists “insane.”
When Abbas visited Washington earlier that month, Trump told the Palestinian president that there would be “no lasting peace”with Israel “unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to violence.”
Former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams said in September that members of the Trump administration “were quite unhappy with the behavior of Mahmoud Abbas during the Temple Mount incident, where he could have spoken in ways that would have ended the crisis. Instead his rhetoric was hot.”
The decision of the PA to pursue claims against Israel in the International Criminal Court sparked a crisis and threatened to close the PLO mission in the U.S.
At a conference organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, Abbas called the recognition a crime and said, “The United States has chosen to lose its qualification as a mediator … We will no longer accept that it has a role in the political process.”
The Times of Israel reported that Abbas said, “We will tell the Israelis that we are no longer committed to any agreement from Oslo until today.”
Abbas added, “If there is no Palestinian state along the June 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, there will not be peace in the region, in the territories or in the world.”
During the terms of Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, Abbas derailed the administration’s two biggest pushes for Israeli-Palestinian peace. And in 2015, Abbas admitted that he rejected a peace offer from then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008.
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