Amid rumors of his deteriorating health, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the Trump administration’s proposed peace deal and told members of the ruling Fatah party last week that he will not end his life as a “traitor.”
The Times of Israel reported that Abbas made the comment to express his strong opposition to the yet-to-be announced peace initiative of the Trump administration, which President Donald Trump has touted as the “deal of the century.”
Referring to Trump’s purported plan, Abbas stated: “I have said in the past — and afterward — that I will not end my life as a traitor. [The US] can announce the deal whenever and wherever they want, but nothing will happen against our will.”
According to Abbas, the Palestinian Authority will not agree to any arrangement that would not include a Palestinian state, with what he refers to as “East Jerusalem” as its capital, based on the pre-1967 lines. “No one in the whole world would be able to impose on us something that we don’t want,” he said.
It was not the first time that Abbas vowed not to end his political career as a traitor by signing a peace agreement with Israel, which does not meet all of the Palestinian demands.
The Fatah council rallied behind their leader and called on Palestinians to “escalate the popular resistance, in all areas, against the occupiers and their settlers.” It also proposed a new law that would ban Palestinians from working in settlements and requiring them to boycott settler products and Israeli goods.
Abbas’ ailing health has long been a source of speculation. Last month, he underwent what his aides called “routine checkups” in a U.S. hospital. Despite his aides claiming that the results were “positive and reassuring,” other sources have indicated that his health has suffered a “major setback” in recent weeks.
In his speech to Fatah officials in Ramallah last week, Abbas hinted that this could be his “last session” with them. “No one can guarantee his life,” Abbas observed, in an apparent reference to his health.
Abbas also addressed in his speech the ongoing dispute between Fatah and the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas, which is in complete political and military control of the Gaza Strip.
He told the crowd that he was no longer sure whether Hamas “wants reconciliation or wants Iran,” its chief sponsor. It was also unclear, he said, whether Hamas “wants reconciliation or wants the PA to function as an ATM machine.”
In December of last year, a senior White House official said that Abbas’s rhetoric “has prevented peace for years.”
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.