Salim Zanoun, the chairman of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) who also serves as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Central Council, on Sunday urged the Central Council members who are meeting in Ramallah to take a stand on the future of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and to reexamine the PLO's recognition of Israel.
The PLO never actually recognized Israel. Its former chairman, Yasser Arafat, in 1988 only summarized the language of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 to provide a legal basis for a “Palestinian state”. In addition, the charter of Fatah includes a clause stating the “absolute irrevocable opposition to recognition of Israel as a ‘Jewish state.’”
Nevertheless, in his opening remarks at Sunday’s gathering, Zanoun said that the city of Al-Quds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem –ed.) would be the capital of the Palestinian state, since "our Canaanite ancestors built it 6,000 years ago."
He called for the formation of a comprehensive plan to deal with the American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Israel’s policy of “Judaization” in Jerusalem, and to increase support for the steadfastness of the residents of Jerusalem in light of the "racism of the occupation and daily pressures on them to forcefully leave their holy city."
Zanoun said that as long as Israel refuses to recognize a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the demand for the “right of return”, the Palestinian Arabs have the right to re-examine recognition of Israel.
Earlier on Sunday, Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech at the opening of the two-day gathering in Ramallah, in which he slammed U.S. President Donald Trump and decried the Jewish state as a “colonial” European project, unconnected to the Jewish people.
Abbas excoriated both Trump over his historic December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the State of Israel and Zionism.
Europeans, Abbas claimed, “wanted to bring the Jews here [to the Land of Israel] from Europe in order to protect European interests in the region. They asked The Netherlands, which then had the largest navy in the world, to relocate the Jews.”
Abbas then quoted an Egyptian writer who claimed that “Israel is a colonial project with no connection whatsoever to the Jews.”
The PA chairman lashed out at the U.S. president, claiming that his recent behavior, including his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, constituted a “slap in the face” the PA, warning that the PA “will slap back”.
“We won’t take orders from anyone,” said Abbas. “We told Trump we will never accept his [peace] plan. His ‘deal of the century’ is the slap in the face of the century, and we will not accept it.”
Ahead of Sunday’s meeting, Abbas praised a series of violent protests and attacks on Israeli civilians and security personnel following Trump’s declaration, hailing the incidents as the beginning of a new “uprising” against the Jewish state.