Palestinians slam US diplomat's remarks on peace talks

If Palestinian president won’t return to talks, someone else can be found who will, US ambassador says in veiled threat

Palestinians slam US diplomat's remarks on peace talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has slammed remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in which he said that if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was not willing to resume peace talks with Israel, “someone else” would. 

“Friedman’s comments constitute flagrant interference in Palestine's internal affairs," PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a Thursday statement. 

“The Palestinian people will not allow anyone to decide their fate,” he said.

Friedman, Abu Rudeineh went on, does not serve U.S. interests, but rather those of Israel’s influential settler movement. 

“Such statements… harm the American people and should stop immediately,” he asserted. 

The Palestinian Information Ministry, meanwhile, described Friedman’s remarks as a “clear message aimed at the Palestinian president”.

“Friedman has deviated from accepted rules of diplomacy,” read a ministry statement.

“He has gone from being a political representative of his country to a defense lawyer for the settlers,” it added. 

Palestine’s Fatah movement, for its part, said the U.S. ambassador should stop acting in the interests of Jewish settlers. 

“No Palestinian will heed his [Friedman’s] threats against the Palestinian president," Fatah, of which Abbas is the leader, said in a statement. 

“Friedman’s remarks will galvanize Palestinians against the American plan to terminate the Palestinian cause,” the statement read. 

In a Wednesday interview with a prominent Israeli magazine, Friedman suggested that if Abbas was not willing to resume talks with Israel, another Palestinian leader could be found who would. 

“If Abbas leaves a vacuum, I’m convinced someone else will fill it,” the ambassador said. “Then we will move forward.”

Palestine-Israel peace talks broke down in 2014, due largely to Israel’s refusal to end its longstanding policy of illegal settlement-building in the occupied West Bank.

 
Last Mod: 30 Mart 2018, 09:08
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