US can no longer broker a Middle East peace, Palestinian leader says

Abbas uses Christmas message to attack Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital


The United States can no longer broker a peace deal following Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said.

In a message released for Christmas, Mr Abbas said the US President’s decision had “encouraged the illegal disconnection between the holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, both separated for the first time in over 2000 years of Christianity.”

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinians had effectively said they were abandoning diplomacy.

Mr Abbas said in his message: “It is because of the US decision to support illegality and the blatant violations of our rights that we will not accept the US as the mediator in the peace process, nor are we going to accept any plan from the US side.

“The US chose to be biased. Their future plan for Palestine will not be based on the two-state solution or the 1967 borders, nor will it be based on international law or UN resolutions.”

The Trump administration has long been understood to be working on a Middle East peace plan and details are expected to emerge in the next few months.

Mr Abbas was on a tour of world capitals in recent days in an attempt to drum up support for diplomatic initiatives bypassing the Trump administration.

Israel, however, is unlikely to accept mediation by another government other than the US.

Mr Netanyahu said that the Palestinian President’s message was “announcing that he is effectively leaving the (diplomatic) process” and that it demonstrated that “those who don't want a solution to the conflict are the Palestinians”.

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