Abbas: US policy change emboldens Israel

PA chairman blasts Trump administration’s announcement on legality of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

Elad Benari ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday refuted the Trump administration’s announcement that it no longer considers Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria to be a violation of international law.

"Such unlawful statements and decisions by the United States only embolden the Israeli government in perpetuating its occupation and in accelerating its settlement activities and in further committing crimes," said Abbas in his message to the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, according to the Xinhua news agency.

In the statement, which was read by the PA’s Permanent Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour, Abbas called the US decision a violation of international law, which proves the United States "unqualified to be an honest broker" on the Palestinian-Israeli issue, and expressed appreciation for the international community's rejection of the statement.

He urged the world "not to recognize the illegal situation created by Israel's illegal policies and practices in occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, and not to render aid or assistance that would allow this situation to be maintained and entrenched."

The Palestinians will continue engaging in efforts that aim to advance the rule of international law, including through the building of national institutions, spreading the culture of peace, and empowering the people, said Abbas.

Abbas' message was delivered to a meeting held by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The International Day of Palestinian Day with the Palestinian People was created by the UN General Assembly in 1977. It is used to single out Israel for criticism and to approve resolutions that are biased against it.

The US announcement on the change in policy vis-à-vis Judea and Samaria was welcomed in Israel but caused an uproar in the Arab world.

Abbas’ official spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said the declaration “is null and void, condemned and totally contradicts with international law, resolutions of the international legitimacy that reject settlements, and Security Council resolutions, especially resolution 2334.”

Earlier this week, Arab League foreign ministers denounced the announcement, calling it “unfairly biased and unacceptable.”