Ramallah, Dec 7 (IANS) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned of a gradual implementation of the US peace plan, known as the “Deal of the Century,” especially amid the ongoing Israeli measures in East Jerusalem.
Abbas, who chaired a meeting for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, on Friday said that Israel is carrying on with its aggression on the Palestinian people, mainly in occupied Jerusalem, Xinhua news agency reported.
He slammed Israel for detaining four crew members of the official Palestine Television in Jerusalem who were released after being held for a few hours by the Israeli police.
The Palestinian News Agency WAFA quoted Abbas as saying that “we have agreements with the Israelis that all these institutions should be functioning normally like any other institution in the West Bank and Gaza.”
“Yet Israel prevents everyone from working, which confirms that the Deal of the Century is applied step by step,” said Abbas.
In December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel and in May last year, he moved his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that outraged the Palestinians.
Abbas said that he opposes the establishment of the portable American hospital that will be inaugurated soon in northern Gaza Strip, close to the border with Israel.
“Any economic projects including the artificial island planned to be built off the Gaza Strip coast, which will have a seaport and an airport, are all rejected,” said Abbas.
The 85-year-old president slammed the Israeli settlement expansion in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, adding that “we can’t keep silent for seeing such actions.”
He warned that if these actions go on and get implemented, all the written and agreed relationships between Palestinians and the Israelis and Americans will be annulled, adding that “we can’t bear seeing them annexing our land while we are watching.”
Settlement is one of the most significant issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and it is one of the reasons for freezing the peace talks between the two sides that had stopped in 2014.
Abbas also said that an agreement on holding elections with the Gaza-based factions is close, but the issue that remains is how to hold it in East Jerusalem.
“Now after overcoming the issue with Gaza and our arrangement with them, there remains another essential issue, which is East Jerusalem, because elections must be held in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza,” said Abbas.
“But, if, for any reason, the residents of East Jerusalem were unable to participate in the elections, we will come back to this table to decide what we can do,” he added.
Bassam Salhi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and secretary general of the Palestinian People’s Party, told Xinhua all factions have agreed to hold elections.
“There are a few things that need to be completed before that, and the general framework is to hold both parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian territories,” Salhi said.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Presidency said in an official press statement that it appreciates the decision of the US Congress made earlier Friday that backs the two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The US Congress Decision is a response to the wrong policies of the US administration, mainly the latest remarks of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said that Israeli settlement don’t violate the international law,” it said.
It added that “the decision is a clear message to the US administration and to Israel that peace can be only made through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”