US President Donald Trump is waging war against the Palestinians, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told reporters in New York on Wednesday night after holding an an international diplomatic meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
He spoke after Trump publicly endorsed a two-state resolution to the conflict for the first time and said he believed the Palestinians would engage in a US lead peace process.
But Malki told reporters that the PA still held that “the current American administration has waged an open war against the Palestinian people.”
Tensions are high between the US and the PA, after the Trump Administration cut over half-a-billion dollars in annual international and bilateral assistance to the Palestinians. It also closed the Palestine Liberation Organization’s delegation office in Washington, DC.
On Wednesday Palestinian leaders appealed to the international community to support a multilateral peace process for a two-state solution. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to present such a plan when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
“We had an open, frank dialogue, discussion, which really will help of course, you know, to try to find the right path to reconvene the peace process and also to maintain the two-state solution,” Maliki said of the diplomatic meeting that was closed to the media.
“This is really one step forward, we will continue our efforts to hold such meetings in different areas,” Maliki said.
“We are looking forward to try to exert all type of efforts from our side in order to really realize, you know, peace in our region and justice for the Palestinians,” Maliki said.
By pushing for a multilateral process, Maliki said, the Palestinians were not looking to challenge or confront the US Administration.
“We are not looking for confrontation with anyone, we are looking for solutions with everyone, solutions that are just, and justice means that the Palestinian people should achieve freedom like the rest of the nations, this is is what we seek. This meeting’s main goal was to protect the two-state solution that allows the Palestinians to create their independent state that is viable and continuous geographically, on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as it’s capital,” Maliki said.
He took issue with Trump’s statement that he had taken Jerusalem off the table by relocating the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.
“We reaffirm that any talk by President Trump on Jerusalem does not mean in anyway that Jerusalem is off the negotiation table or when he speaks of the settlements or the refugees, this does not mean that these topics are no longer on the negotiation table,” said Maliki.
It is international law and UN resolutions, not Trump, that sets the counters of how those issues are handled within the context of two-state peace process, Maliki said.
“President Trump does not decide international law nor the United Nations resolutions when he takes unilateral steps that have no legal basis and therefore it is not binding on those basis,” Maliki said.
The Palestinians, he said, want to engage in dialogue and did so in 2017.
“After all these efforts from outside four meetings with President Trump more than 40 meetings with his special peace envoys to discover that they have opted to open that war against the Palestinians,” Maliki said.