Arab states furious at Abbas over response to Trump
January 5, 2018
Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt are incensed at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over his reaction to US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, according to Israeli media reports.
Israel Hayom quoted a Jordanian official as saying, "The Palestinians' efforts to sway public opinion have been a complete failure, and as a result, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has created a rift between us [the Arab world] and Trump. We are once again left with the demagogic, hollow and inflammatory rhetoric of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan."
Officials also expressed dismay at Abbas' attempts to punish the US on the international stage. Referring to the recent UN General Assembly attempt to annul the recognition move and declare it illegal, the Jordanian source stated, "Washington has made its views clear and said it would take action against those nations that voted against it at the UN General Assembly last week. Now, when it is clear Trump is indeed going to punish those that voted against the US, most countries are trying to cut their losses."
The official added that Palestinian declarations that the US will no longer be part of the peace process and is not an honest broker, as well as attempts to internationalize the issue, have added to the Arab states' frustration with Abbas, especially on the part of Jordan. He also pointed to the lackluster protests from Palestinians despite daily incitement from the PA.
"We are very worried about the Palestinians' actions over Jerusalem," he said. "Their efforts to shun the US from the peace process and their insistence on international intervention are a double-edged sword that could hurt first and foremost Jordan's status in Jerusalem and could bring about the exact opposite of the intended result. Many more countries could do what the US has done after seeing that the region has not been destabilized and only a few thousand protesters have taken to the streets."
In response, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt are reportedly freezing out the Palestinians and forming their own committee to deal with the issue. "The decision to establish this committee was, in effect, imposed on the Palestinian Authority by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan in a move that was backed by the Arab League," the source noted. "This is a super committee that is headed by the secretary general of the Arab League, and it effectively puts the Arab League in charge of the policy on Jerusalem, taking it away from the Palestinians."
For his part, however, Abbas appears to be doubling down on his current strategy. The Times of Israel reported that Abbas has decided to cut off all diplomatic contacts with the US, including with the American Consulate in Jerusalem, which has served as an unofficial embassy to the PA.
According to the report, this amounts to "throwing away the key" to any relationship with the US.