Ramallah, May 1 (AP) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told the PLO parliament, which was meeting for its first full session since the 1990s, that he plans to take unspecified “tough steps” soon against Israel and the United States. Also Read - Netanyahu Says New Govt Will be Sworn-in With Pledge of Israeli Sovereignty Over West Bank
Abbas yesterday told hundreds of delegates that he is sticking to his rejection of any US proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal following the Trump administration’s recognition in December of contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and a decision to move the US Embassy there in mid-May. Also Read - Israel Strike Gaza After Attack Near Netanyahu's Event
“This is completely unacceptable,” he told the Palestinian National Council members during the opening of their four-day meeting in the West Bank. “We will not accept this deal, and we will not accept the US as the sole broker.” Abbas appeared to dismiss media reports quoting Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, as saying the Palestinians should stop complaining and accept what they are being offered by the Trump administration. Also Read - Israel's Army Will Continue to Strike Gaza's Islamic Jihad Group: PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Abbas did not refer to those reports specifically, but said he has been assured that Saudi Arabia remains supportive of the Palestinian positions. “We hear lots of rumours,” he told the delegates. “Don’t believe them.” The 83-year-old Abbas warned that he might “take tough steps in the near future in our relationship with our neighbours (Israel) and the Americans.” He did not elaborate, but said they would be important and far-reaching.
The meeting of the PLO parliament comes at a time of deep divisions between Abbas and his domestic rival, the Islamic militant group Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has raised its leadership profile in recent weeks by organising mass protests on the Gaza border with Israel. In the weekly marches, thousands of Palestinians gather near the border fence, with smaller groups approaching the barrier, throwing stones or firebombs and burning tires.
Thirty-nine protesters have been killed and more than 1,700 wounded by Israeli army fire over the past month.
Israel, which has come under mounting international criticism for the use of lethal force against unarmed protesters, says it has the right to defend its border and alleges that Hamas uses the protests as cover for attacks. (AP) CK CK
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.