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Mahmoud Abbas slams Trump over 'slap of the century'

PA leader says the US president's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital will never be accepted.

PLO council meeting

Mahmoud Abbas has sharply criticised Donald Trump, saying the Palestinian Authority (PA) will never accept the US president's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The PA president made his comments on Sunday at the start of a two-day central council meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Ramallah.

"Politically, Jerusalem is our capital; in our religion, it is our capital; geographically, it is our capital," said Abbas.

"But it was removed from the map with a tweet from Mr. Trump," he added.

"Now we say 'No' to Trump, we won't accept his plan - we say the 'deal of the century' is the slap of the century," noted Abbas, referring to the US president's pledge to achieve the "ultimate deal" - peace in the Middle East.

The Palestinian leader also said that Israel had "ended" the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s with its actions, and also called the US ambassadors to the UN and to Israel - Nikki Haley and David Friedman - a "disgrace".


READ MORE: Palestinian unity in doubt before summit on Jerusalem


Trump's decision on December 6 was widely condemned by the international community and ignited deadly protests in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Abbas had previously said the US could no longer play any role in the Middle East peace process following Trump's move.

The status of Jerusalem is extremely sensitive and is one of the main sticking points in efforts to resolve the conflict.

Palestinian leaders want occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, while Israel says the city cannot be divided. Israel sees the entire city as its capital.

Key decisions

The PLO meeting in Ramallah is supposed to lay out the Palestinian strategy to confront the US in the wake of its Jerusalem decision.

Yet, questions over Palestinian unity were raised earlier on Sunday after it emerged that political movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad would boycott the event.

Both groups, which are not part of the PLO but are regularly invited to observe its meetings, refused to attend despite receiving an official invitation.


READ MORE: Ismail Haniya warns against US 'deal of the century'


Hamas said would not send representatives to the council meeting because it objected to Abbas' decision to hold the meeting in the occupied West Bank.

Islamic Jihad had earlier announced that it would not participate in the meeting in Ramallah, and later urged the Palestinian National Council (PNC) - the highest decision-making body of the PLO - "to end relations" with the US, and accelerate internal reconciliation, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are both based in Gaza, and the former governs the besieged Palestinian enclave.


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