By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas has called for the United Nations to replace the United States as a mediator in the effort to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
His comments came on December 13 at an emergency summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul.
Abbas told the meeting that Palestinians had been “shocked” by the U.S. move announced on December 6 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of American policy and angering U.S. allies and others in Europe and the Middle East.
“While we engaged with them in the peace process for the sake of a deal for the ages, [U.S. President Donald Trump] delivered a slap for the ages,” he said. “We will no longer accept that [the United States] has a role in the political process [as a mediator].”
Abbas said he remains committed to a two-state solution but added he would push for the United Nations to take the lead role in peace efforts.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan opened the summit with a call for the international community to recognize “occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.”
He said Jerusalem is a “red line” for Muslims and that they will not accept any aggression against Islamic holy sites.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani, meanwhile, called on Muslim nations to work together to defend the rights of Palestinians.
Palestinians regard Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and declared all of the city as its capital, a move never recognized by the international community.
The United States has said its decision only reflects the reality on the ground and that the move does not indicate it is relinquishing its role as mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not directly mention Abbas’ comments in a speech, but he said Palestinians should “work for peace and not for extremism.”
“All of these declarations do not impress us,” he said.
He added that while reaffirming Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem, the country remained committed to protecting the rights of all religious groups in the city considered holy by Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
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