Palestinians Respond to Trump Election With Hope but Few Expectations

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas heads a Palestinian cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 28, 2013.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas heads a Palestinian cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 28, 2013.Credit: Issam Rimawi, Reuters

Palestinians responded with hope but few expectations on Wednesday to the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, in contrast to responses from Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Trump on winning the election, expressing hope that it would be possible to achieve “peace and justice” during his presidency.

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Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as PM Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands in 2010.Credit: J. Scott Applewhite, AP

“We are ready to deal with the elected president on the basis of a two-state solution and to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders,” presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told the AFP news agency.

Failure to resolve the conflict would mean “the unstable situation will continue in the region,” Abu Rudeina added.

PLO Secretary General and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that he hoped the new administration would support the two-state solution, insisting that peace and security in the region can only be achieved by the establishment of a Palestinian state of the 1967 borders.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said that “the Palestinian people do not count much on any change in the U.S. presidency because U.S. policy towards the Palestinian issue is a consistent policy on the basis of bias.”

“Nevertheless," Abu Zuhri said, "we hope that U.S. President Trump will re-evaluate this policy and rebalance it on the Palestinian issue.”

For its part, the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine announced its opposition to America's "ongoing and unlimited" support for Israel, which, it said, "is always used against innocent Palestinians."

Sheikh Khader Adnan, leader of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, said that Palestinians don't expect anything good to come from Trump, "since their policy is the same and the most biased towards Israel."

Tayseer Khaled, a prominent member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), wrote on his Facebook page that American elections inevitably influence the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“We know that Trump is relatively closer to Israel than Clinton, but we should also not  forget that Hillary as foreign secretary has always sold us lies and illusions over the years, and that Democratic Obama gave Israel a $38 billion deal for the next 10 years,” Khaled wrote.

Jamal Al-Khudari, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege" of Gaza, said in a press release that all American presidents have given unlimited support to Israel and denied Palestinian rights.

“The shortest way to achieve peace and security is by giving the Palestinian people their legitimate rights and having their own state with Jerusalem as its capital,” Khudari said.

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