Abbas declares Oslo Accords dead
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that the Oslo Accords, which had been the basis for negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis since 1992, are dead, blaming Israel and Donald Trump's peace plan.
Abbas said that "today is the day that the Oslo Accords end. Israel killed them. We are an authority without any authority, and an occupation without any cost. Trump threatens to cut funding to the authority because negotiations have failed. When the hell did negotiations start?!"
He added that "any future negotiations will take place only within the context of the international community, by an international committee created in the framework of an international conference. Allow me to be clear: [w]e will not accept America[n] leadership of a political process involving negotiations.
"U.S. [a]mbassador to Israel David Friedman is a settler who is opposed to the term occupation. He is an offensive human being, and I will not agree to meet with him anywhere. They requested that I meet him and I refused, not in Jerusalem, not in Amman, not in Washington. U.S. [a]mbassador to the UN Nikki Haley too, she threatens to hit people who hurt Israel with the heel of her shoe, and we'll respond in the same way."
Abbas's remarks, made before the Palestinian Central Council, come against the backdrop of a U.S. cut in contributions to the U.N. for Palestinian refugees.
The Trump administration is preparing to withhold tens of millions of dollars from the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, cutting the year's first contribution by more than half or perhaps entirely, and making additional donations contingent on major changes to the organization, according to U.S. officials.
President Donald Trump hasn't made a final decision, but appears more likely to send only $60 million of the planned $125[-]million first installment to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, said the officials, who weren't authorized to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Future contributions would require the agency, facing heavy Israeli criticism, to demonstrate significant changes in operations, they said, adding that one suggestion under consideration would require the Palestinians to first re-enter peace talks with Israel.
The State Department said Sunday that "the decision is under review. There are still deliberations taking place." The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the matter.
The administration could announce its decision as early as Tuesday, the officials said. The plan to withhold some of the money is backed by [s]ecretary of [s]tate Rex Tillerson and [d]efense [s]ecretary James Mattis, who offered it as a compromise to demands for more drastic measures by U.N. [a]mbassador Nikki Haley, the officials said.
Abbas is bluffing. The "peace process" – a misnomer, to be sure – has guaranteed a steady flow of cash into the P.A.'s treasury for decades. As long as the Palestinians mouthed platitudes about negotiating peace with Israel (while murdering as many Israeli civilians they could get away with), contributions from the U.N. and Western countries continued.
The Palestinians must now confront a new reality. They no longer have a friend in the White House who would pressure Israel to make ruinous concessions. Trump seems content to put all the pressure on Abbas and Hamas to change their behavior before serious negotiations begin.
For far too long, the Palestinians have been able to play a duplicitous game, dangling the hope for peace while firing thousands of rockets into Israel, hoping to kill civilians. Most Israeli observers believe that another war is coming. This time, there won't be an American president to restrain Israel from finishing the job of destroying the Palestinians' ability to strike at the Jewish state.