‘God help us’ if Trump wins re-election, Palestinian PM says
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has said a Donald Trump victory in the upcoming presidential elections in the United States will be disastrous for his people – and the world at large.
In comments made during a meeting with European legislators on Tuesday, Shtayyeh said the last four years of the Trump administration have greatly harmed the Palestinians.
“If we are going to live another four years with President Trump, God help us, God help you and God help the whole world,” the prime minister said, repeating comments he made a day earlier in a virtual address to the European Parliament. The comments were also posted on his Facebook page.
“If things are going to change in the United States, I think this will reflect itself directly on the Palestinian-Israeli relationship,” Shtayyeh said, referring to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden winning the November 3 polls. “And it will reflect itself also on the bilateral Palestinian-American relationship.”
Trump and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Palestinians have traditionally refrained from taking an explicit public position in US presidential elections.
Shtayyeh’s comments reflected a sense of desperation on the Palestinian side after a series of controversial moves by Washington, including the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017 and the subsequent relocation of the embassy there. At the time, Palestinian leaders, who see occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, said the US was no longer an honest broker in negotiations.
Following that, the US closed down the Palestinian Liberation Organization mission offices in Washington in response to the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to enter into US-led talks with Israel.
Trump also cut off hundreds of millions of dollars of US aid to the Palestinians, and earlier this year issued a so-called “Middle East plan” that was outright rejected by the Palestinians as too favourable towards the US’s staunch ally, Israel.
It envisions the Israeli annexation of large swaths of the occupied West Bank including illegal Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley, giving Israel a permanent eastern border along the Jordan River.
The Trump administration has also said it no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal, reversing decades of US policy – a move condemned by Palestinians and rights groups.
More recently, Trump’s administration has also persuaded two Arab Gulf countries, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel and pushed other Arab nations to follow suit.
The deals announced in August were slammed by the Palestinians as grave betrayals by the Arab states, further undermining their efforts to achieve self-determination. They also undercut the traditional Arab consensus that recognition of Israel only come in return for an independent Palestinian state.
For now, the majority of Arab states say they remain committed to the Arab Peace Initiative – which calls for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied after 1967 in exchange for peace and the full establishment of relations.