Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday he would only accept a broad, internationally-backed panel to broker any peace talks with Israel, but did not rule out a US role in such a panel.
The Palestinians are seething at US President Donald Trump’s recognition last month of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Abbas told a meeting of senior Palestinian officials in a speech that the move had disqualified the United States as a peacemaker.
Israel says it would welcome the United States as a mediator but a US bid to revive negotiations, led by Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has so far shown no progress. Talks have been frozen since 2014.
Trump has said that achieving an agreement would be the “deal of the century” but Abbas was scathing on Sunday, saying: “The deal of the century is actually the slap of the century, and we will return it.”
“We do not accept the United States as a mediator between us and Israel,” Abbas said. “Let it be an international committee formed at an international conference comprising four or five (countries or parties). But the United States alone? No.”
Abbas’s comments were made at the start of a two-day meeting in Ramallah of the Palestinian Central Council, the Palestinians’ highest decision-making body, where 95 delegates will debate future strategy.