PA cabinet leader: Only political solution can end conflict

Mohammad Shtayyeh says only way to solve conflict with Israel is by ending "occupation" and establishing a Palestinian state.

Elad Benari ,

Mohammed Shtayyeh
Mohammed Shtayyeh
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday that only a political solution could guarantee an end to the decades-old Israeli-Arab conflict, the Wafa news agency reports.

Reacting at the start of the cabinet meeting in Ramallah to the US-sponsored economic conference planned to be held in Bahrain in late June as part of the so-called “Deal of the Century”, Shtayyeh said his government was not consulted in any way on this meeting.

“The economic issue should be an outcome of the political solution because the Palestinian people and leadership are not looking to only improve living conditions under occupation,” he said.

"Any solution to the conflict in Palestine will only come through a political solution aimed at ending the occupation and the realization of Palestinian rights in an independent, sovereign and viable state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital and the right of return of refugees based on United Nations resolutions and international law," added Shtayyeh.

His comments come a day after senior White House officials said that the Trump administration is planning to release the economic component of its upcoming Middle East peace plan in late June, adding that it would break up the release of the much-anticipated plan.

The first half of the plan, dubbed the “Deal of the Century” by President Donald Trump, will be released at an international summit in Manama, Bahrain on June 25 to 26. The US is playing down the summit, however, and is calling the event a "workshop".

On Monday, the PA announced that it would boycott the economic conference, with its “information minister” Nabil Abu Rudeineh saying that the conference would be a meaningless meeting that was part of a meaningless plan.

The PA has been boycotting the US since President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December of 2017 and has rejected the US peace plan before it has even been unveiled.

Shtayyeh also said on Monday that the financial difficulty the PA is going through today was a result of what he described as the “financial war” waged against the Palestinians with a goal to extort political compromises from them.

“We do not give in to extortion, nor would we trade our national rights for money,” he said, in reference to the economic conference as well as Israeli deduction of millions of dollars from the PA tax revenues over the PA payments to families of terrorists held by Israel or killed while carrying outs acts of terrorism.

Shtayyeh demanded that Israel return all “seized” Palestinian money, calling for an international auditing mechanism to look into the Israeli deductions from the funds such as for what Israel claims money the PA owes it for water, electricity, wastewater, hospitals and others.