Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas condemned and bitterly rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision Wednesday (Dec. 6) to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel.

Speaking in a televised address, Abbas said, “These procedures also help extremist groups wage a religious war that would harm the entire region, which is going through a critical time, and would lead us into wars that will never end, which we have warned about and against which we have always urged to fight.”

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Saying the Palestinian Authority leadership would not acknowledge the president’s move, Abbas called Jerusalem the “eternal capital of the State of Palestine” and said the U.S. was no longer able to be a mediator in Israeli-Palestinian Authority final status talks. “This is a reward to Israel,” he said, adding that the decision encouraged Israel’s “continuing occupation” of Judea and Samaria.

“The decision by President Trump will not change the reality of the city of Jerusalem and will not give any legitimacy to the Israelis on this issue,” Abbas sadi. “We will achieve national independence.”

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat, who in past years served as the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, likewise responded with bitter disappointment, saying President Trump’s decision “disqualified the United States of America to play any role in any peace process.”

Erekat, who received medical treatment in Israel for a severe lung condition over the past year and recently underwent a lung transplant in Pennsylvania, said in a statement, “President Trump just destroyed any policy of a two-state [solution]… He has taken an action to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“This is in total contradiction of agreements signed between Palestinians and Israelis.”

Erekat claimed the president is “pushing this region towards chaos [and] violence, adding “It’s meaningless” to have a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital; the only option, he said, “is to fight for equal rights” in the land from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea.

“This is the most dangerous decision that any U.S. president has ever taken,” Erekat told Al Jazeera.

The Qatar-based news outlet’s senior political analyst, Marwan Bishara, said, “This was a declaration of war against the Palestinian people and their rights, and against the international community and its commitment to international law and to a two-state solution.”

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