Ramallah (Palestinian Territories): Palestinian leaders voted to call for the suspension of recognition of Israel in a move with potentially deep implications as they met in response to US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
While withdrawing the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s recognition of Israel could spark international backlash, it was unclear whether the vote was binding.
A previous vote by the same Palestinian Central Council, a high-ranking arm of the PLO, in 2015 to suspend security coordination with Israel was never implemented. That vote was also reaffirmed on Monday.
However, even if the move goes no further, the vote was another expression of Palestinian fury over Trump’s Jerusalem declaration and what they see as the White House’s attack on their long bid for statehood.
As he opened the meeting, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who voted in favour of the suspension, called Trump’s peace efforts the “slap of the century.”
The vote ordered the Palestine Liberation Organisation to suspend its recognition of Israel until it “recognises the state of Palestine”, cancels its annexation of east Jerusalem and stops settlement activity, a statement said.
The PLO is considered the official representative of the Palestinians internationally and formalised its recognition of Israel in 1993.
In a statement, the delegates also backed comments on Sunday by Abbas that the Oslo peace accords of the early 1990s, which form the basis of the Palestinians’ relations with Israel, were “finished.”
Abbas had said that Israel had ended the accords through its actions, referring to activities seen as eroding the possibility of a two-state solution such as persistent settlement building.