Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the opening session of the Palestinian National Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on April 30, 2018. Mahmoud Abbas on Monday reiterated that the Palestinians reject U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming peace plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Xinhua/Ayman Nobani)
RAMALLAH, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday reiterated that the Palestinians reject U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming peace plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Addressing the opening session of the four-day meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the parliament in exile of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Abbas said that the Palestinians believe that the U.S. cannot be a peace sponsor of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process due to its biased pro-Israeli position.
The PNC meeting, the first since 2009, was convened to discuss the strained ties with Israel and the U.S. following Trump's decision to recognize the disputed holy city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, as well as the internal Palestinian reconciliation between Abbas's Fatah party and the Islamic Hamas movement that has controlled Gaza Strip since 2007.
Trump is formulating a new peace plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following his Jerusalem decision and his order to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.
Abbas, also chairman of PLO executive committee, denounced the upcoming Trump's plan as "an end to the peace process in the Middle East."
Abbas reiterated that there will be no peace between Israel and the Palestinians without Jerusalem as capital of the future Palestinian state.
He added that "there will be no Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip and there will be no state in Gaza only."
PNC Speaker Salim Zanoun chaired the opening ceremony of the PNC meeting on Monday, by playing the Palestinian national anthem and saluting the Palestinians killed in the conflict with Israel.
Zanoun called for holding general elections to elect the new parliament and president, while urging Hamas to immediately end the 11-year internal Palestinian division.
"If Washington wants to provide something, it must say it is with the choice of the two-state solution and East Jerusalem is the capital if the independent State of Palestine. Anything different from this, we won't accept," Abbas said.
Trump drove the Palestinians and the entire Muslim world outraged when he on Dec. 6, 2017 declared that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and he intends to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.
Since Trump's declaration, the Palestinians have been demanding a multilateral international mechanism as an alternative to the U.S. monopoly of sponsoring the peace process with Israel, stalled since 2014.
Abbas reiterated the rejection of any projects to establish a Palestinian state with temporary borders, saying it was a "liquidation" of the Palestinian cause.
He also stressed Palestine's continuing bids for the memberships of international agencies and treaties, and the efforts to obtain full membership in the United Nations and to gain international protection for the Palestinians.
Abbas slammed the Israeli settlement in all its forms "are illegal" since 1967, calling for ending the occupation of Israel in accordance with Arab peace initiative.
In the meanwhile, he defended the convening of the PNC, despite internal criticism, saying: "If we did not convene the National Council, the national dream will be in danger."
About internal Palestinian reconciliation, Abbas renewed his demand that the administration of the Gaza Strip be fully handed over from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority.
This is the 23rd session of the National Council, the first since 2009. Some 90 Arab and international delegations attended the opening ceremony.