Israel must “rethink” its aggressive “apartheid system” and honor the status of East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state, President Mahmoud Abbas said on New Year’s Eve.
“We will not accept the status quo. We will not accept the apartheid system. We will not accept occupation without cost, and you [Israel] must rethink your aggressive policies and actions against our people, our land and our holy places before it is too late,” the Palestinian Authority President said in Ramallah, marking the 53rd anniversary of Fatah.
Abbas vowed to continue all possible political and diplomatic efforts to create an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital based on the 1967 borders. Jerusalem is “the eternal capital of the Palestinian people,” he said, as cited by Israel’s Channel 10 network. “We are staying here and won’t leave until Palestine is liberated. East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state.”
Trump’s controversial December 6 move sparked deadly protests in the occupied Palestinian territories. The demonstrations across West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem were met by a heavy Israeli crackdown. At least 14 Palestinians have been killed and around 3,000 others injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Abbas condemned the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Jewish “settler terrorist groups” for their “crimes” against the Palestinians, while addressing Palestinians Sunday.
The Palestinian president also promised to reconcile the two Palestinian factions – Fatah and Hamas – following an almost decade-long split between the two groups. Most analysts say Palestinian unity is crucial for the realisation of the much touted two-state solution.
The reconciliation process has been critically undermined by Trump’s announcement. Hamas warned late last month of the potential collapse of the October agreement reached with their political rivals in Cairo. The Fatah-Hamas pact would go a long way in strengthening the Palestinian cause on a global scale. Hamas was expected to hand over control of Gaza to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority government by December 10, but the deadline for the Egyptian-brokered deal has passed, and still maintain power in the Palestinian enclave.
Despite the delay in implementing the agreement, Abbas promised to “continue with all sincerity and perseverance to work to unify our land and our people and achieve national reconciliation… Our people are moving in the path of reconciliation confidently and urgently. We will embark on a strong national unity.”
In another development, the Palestinian leadership Sunday temporarily recalled its envoy to the United States. Hussam Zomlot was recalled on Abbas’ orders “to discuss future steps” following the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Earlier, the Palestinian president openly declared that Palestinians would no longer accept the US as a mediator in the Middle East peace process as a consequence of Trump’s decision.