PA Spokesman: Palestinians Will Continue to Boycott US Administration (VIDEO)
Nabil Abu Rudeineh: ‘The Americans are not working in an honest way. They are biased and this situation is not going to lead anywhere.’
Almost two years have passed since the Palestinian Authority started boycotting the US administration following President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israeli’s capital.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, told The Media Line that the boycott of the Trump administration would continue unless the White House reversed its decision.
“President Trump’s announcement took Jerusalem is off the table. Jerusalem is part of the territory occupied in 1967; if it’s off the table, he is off the table, too.”
Abu Rudeineh added, “The Americans are not working in an honest way. They are biased and this situation is not going to lead anywhere.”
There can be no peace plan without a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, Abu Rudeineh told a group of Israeli journalists who visited Ramallah on Tuesday.
Abu Rudeineh sat down in his Information Ministry office in Ramallah, in the West Bank, to discuss a wide range of issues with The Media Line Middle East Bureau Chief Mohammad Al-Kassim. (A text report follows.)
Abu Rudeineh, a close, longtime confidant of Abbas, is the PA’s deputy prime minister and has served as information minister since 2019.
The peace negotiations are in deep freeze; the last time Palestinian and Israeli officials met to talk about the peace process was on April 23, 2014.
At the time, former US President Barak Obama was still in the White House.
Abu Rudeineh said that when Abbas met with President Trump at the United Nations in 2017, Trump “was very positive” and “ready to recognize” the two-state solution. The problems began when the US leader ordered his team to go to the West Bank and Israel the following week to start negotiating.
“His group said, ‘No, Mr. President, you are going to destroy everything,” Abu Rudeineh related. “So, he [President Trump] was taken aback, and then somebody told him if you want to solve this issue, let’s take Jerusalem off the table.”
Abu Rudeineh was critical of US the Mideast team which consisted of Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and ex-Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt.
Abu Rudeineh said the three lacked “knowledge” and “experience” regarding the region.
“This team [was] a complete failure,” he stated. “This team ruined the credibility of United States policy.”
Greenblatt resigned from his post at the end of October for personal reasons.
Palestinian officials maintain there is no longer any back-channel communication with the Trump Administration, yet Abu Rudeineh admitted that security cooperation between Ramallah and Washington was never suspended. He added that Majid Faraj, head of the PA’s security services, was in Washington for a week at the end of October for discussions with senior officials, among them CIA Director Gina Haspel.
“We definitely have maintained contact with the security branches. We have agreements with 83 countries, including the CIA, in the fight against terror,” he told The Media Line.
“This relationship has always been good,” he continued. “They [the CIA] have a better understanding of what’s going on, but no one is listening to them at the White House.”
Abu Rudeineh also spoke about President Abbas’s decision to call for legislative and presidential elections, saying the votes will either be held in all of the Palestinian territories or in none of them.
“Unless we are able to run elections in Jerusalem and in Gaza, there won’t be elections in the West Bank,” he said.
Israel claims sovereignty over East Jerusalem and works to prevent any Palestinian Authority activity there.
Abu Rudeineh spoke openly about Fatah’s rival, Hamas. He accused the powerful Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip of submitting to regional pressure when it came to the elections.
“We know they [Hamas] are not ready and not independent like the Fatah organization. They are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, some of them are connected to Iran, some are connected to regional powers, so all of these are preventing them from running for elections.”