Palestine, Hamas slam Trump over Jerusalem remarks

Ramallah/Gaza: Palestine and the Islamic Hamas movement on Wednesday slammed US President Donald Trump for suggesting removal of the Jerusalem issue from the Middle East peace talks.

Ahmad Tamimi, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member, in a press statement termed the US President’s comments as “useless”.

“Trump’s remarks express the biased US policy towards Israel and a continuation of the US illusions, which include passing the new peace ‘Deal of Century’ without Jerusalem being the capital for the Palestinian state,” he said.

“Trump won’t be able to remove the issue of Jerusalem from hearts of the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims,” the senior PLO official said.

The Palestinian leaders have repeatedly announced their categorical rejection of any US Middle East peace plan that excludes Jerusalem, the refugees issue and Jewish settlements.

“We have removed the issue of Jerusalem from the negotiating table,” Trump said in a speech in Virginia on Tuesday.

“During the negotiations, Israel will pay a much higher price because it has taken a very valuable gift,” the US President added, referring to his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier said that he will neither hold talks with the Trump administration nor accept it as the peace mediator before it backs down on its decision on Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, called Trump’s decision to remove Jerusalem from Palestinian-Israeli talks “very dangerous”.

“There should be a firm and strict Palestinian response like withdrawing the recognition of Israel, cancelling the security partnership and severing all contacts and ties with the US administration,” he said in an e-mailed press statement.