On Saturday, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Francis at the Vatican and inaugurated the Palestinian Authority (PA) embassy there. As he was raising the black, red, white and green flag, Abbas called on the world’s leaders to recognize the State of Palestine when they get together in Paris on Sunday.
“Tomorrow, more than 70 countries will meet in Paris in order to discuss how to bring peace to our region, the holy land,” Abbas said. “We call upon the participants to take concrete measures in order to implement international law and UN resolutions.”
Abbas told reporters he discussed Jerusalem with the Pope, accusing the Israeli government of “turning Jerusalem into an exclusive Jewish/Israeli city, demolishing Palestinian homes, expanding illegal settlements, building an illegal Annexation Wall, dividing families, and isolating our occupied capital from the rest of Palestine.”
Regarding the next US Administration’s stated plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem, Abbas said that “Any attempts at legitimizing the illegal Israeli annexation of the city will destroy the prospects of any political process, bury the hopes for a two-state solution, and fuel extremism in our region, as well as worldwide.”
Speaking to Le Figaro on the eve of the Paris conference, Abbas threatened that, should President Trump go ahead with the embassy move as promised, “there would be several options for us, and we would discuss them with Arab countries.” He suggested that one of those options would be “reversing our recognition of the State of Israel.”
According to the Washington Post, PA leaders called on Muslim preachers on the Palestinian Authority payroll to dedicate their Friday sermons yesterday to opposing the US embassy relocation. The imams even received suggested talking points about the embassy move. The Post reported that the imam of the Jamal Abdel Nasser Mosque in Ramallah warned that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would “engulf the region in the flames.”
A draft of the Paris conference resolution obtained by AP says the conference will urge Israel and the Palestinians “to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution,” but “will not recognize” changes, such as the establishment of a Palestinian State without Israeli agreement. The resolution will instead reiterate “that a negotiated solution with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is the only way to achieve enduring peace.”