Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Abbas says Trump's policy shift on Jerusalem was 'sinful'

Published:Thursday | January 18, 2018 | 12:03 AM
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaks during a conference on Jerusalem at the Al-Azhar Conference Center, in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday.


The Palestinian president yesterday again blasted Donald Trump in a fiery and emotional speech, saying the US leader's decision to recognise contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital was "sinful" and "ill-fated".

Mahmoud Abbas, who has openly cursed Trump over his policies, told a conference in Egypt that the United States has disqualified itself from continuing as a broker in the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a role America has had for decades.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that he was certain the US Embassy in Israel would be moved to Jerusalem sometime this year, much sooner than Trump administration officials have estimated.

Netanyahu told Israeli reporters travelling with him in India that his "solid assessment" is that the American Embassy "will be moved far faster than what we think ... in the course of the year".

American officials have said it is unlikely that the embassy in Jerusalem would open before the end of Trump's term in office.


Peaceful pursuit


A long-time opponent of violence, Abbas said the Palestinians "will continue to peacefully pursue our demands until we win back our rights".

His comments at a conference on Jerusalem held in Cairo came ahead of a weekend visit to the region by Vice-President Mike Pence, the most senior American official to visit the Middle East since Trump's Jerusalem decision in December. Pence will visit Egypt, Jordan and Israel, but will not be meeting with Palestinians.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.