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US Mideast Envoy: Abbas' Attempt to Sever Jewish Ties to Jerusalem Won't Promote 'Lasting Peace'

02-09-2018
US Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt Meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in March 2017, Photo, AP
US Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt Meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in March 2017, Photo, AP

JERUSALEM, Israel – Trump administration Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt publicly denounced Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for attempting to sever Judaism's historical connection to Jerusalem.  

Greenblatt, who's avoided public criticism of Abbas, went on the offensive, quoting the PA leader's statement in Ramallah earlier this week.

"Lasting peace will not be achieved by denying Judaism's thousands of years of ties to Jerusalem," Greenblatt tweeted. "Jerusalem is holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews."

Abbas is slated to address the UN on February 20th, presumably to voice his objection to US President Trump's December 7 announcement affirming Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Trump also said the US has begun the process of moving its embassy there, a decision quickly echoed by Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales.

Even before Abbas's recent 2.5-hour tirade against the US and Israel in which he cursed President Trump and his family with the most vicious curse in Arab culture, he rejected US involvement in the peace process, saying Trump is no longer a "legitimate" participant. He refused to receive Vice President Pence last month, whose Knesset speech wowed Israelis.

Palestinians were further angered by the US decision to cut funding to UNWRA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, created in 1949 to oversee the Palestinian refugee issue. Many today believe UNWRA, known for its decades-long pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel slant, perpetuated the problem rather than trying to help the refugees and their offspring.

Abbas, meanwhile, continues to seek EU recognition of a Palestinian state, based on the pre-1967 armistice lines with "east Jerusalem" as its capital – which he's expected to talk about at the UN.

Earlier this week, he said he would not relinquish his position on Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state or on the so-called right of return for refugees and their offspring, now estimated at 5 million.

Friedman's to Blame

Through his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, Abbas said US Israeli Ambassador David Friedman bears responsibility for the "crisis in American-Palestinian relations."


US Israeli Ambassador David Friedman
The Palestinians also fault Friedman's support of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Following the assassination of Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal earlier this week, Friedman expressed his condolences, mentioning how his family gifted the community with an ambulance years ago.

But the ultra-left Israeli daily Ha'aretz has an opposite point of view.

Ha'aretz journalist Gideon Levy called Har Bracha a "mountain of curses," when the name actually means "mountain of blessings," the Jerusalem Post reported. The article also criticized the donation of the ambulance.

Levy called Har Bracha a settlement, which "like its sisters was founded in order to poke sticks in the eyes of the Palestinians and rods into any chance for a peace agreement."

Friedman tweeted,

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