Abbas: Kushner's anti-UNRWA Actions Prove U.S. Wants to Erase Palestinian Issue

Palestinian president says report on Kushner's attempt to strip Palestinians in Jordan of refugee status is further proof U.S. peace deal will jeopardize Palestinians

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairing a PLO meeting at PA headquarters in Ramallah, July 28, 2018.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairing a PLO meeting at PA headquarters in Ramallah, July 28, 2018.Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office responded Saturday to a report by U.S. magazine Foreign Policy claiming that U.S. President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner pressured Jordan to strip the refugee status of the two million Palestinians residing in the country.

The Palestinian president's office said Friday's report proved that Kushner's attempt, as well as his disparaging comments about UNRWA, the UN refugee agency aiding Palestinians, were proof that the U.S. administration is plotting to push the Palestinian refugee issue off the negotiations table.

>> UPDATE: White House doubles down on Palestinian refugees issue, says UNRWA mandate must change ■ Background: Kushner reportedly worked to strip Jordan's two million Palestinians of refugee status

The statement, issued on Saturday night, said that the exposure by Foreign Policy of emails by White House advisers reveals what Abbas has warned of and shows the danger in what has been called the “deal of the century.”

Abbas' office reiterated that Trump's peace plan, which is expected to be revealed in the near future, is aimed at stripping the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights.

The Palestinian people and its leadership remain firm on issues of Palestinian statehood, especially the issue of refugees, a solution to which is key in a permanent solution based on the principles of the international community and the Arab peace plan, the statement added.

The Palestinian Authority and Fatah, the statement continued, are both warning of what they say is a transformation of the Palestinian national issue into a humanitarian matter.

This danger, Abbas' office wrote, is especially apparent in light of the emerging agreement to calm the situation in the Gaza Strip.

In the meantime, Fatah officials have come out against the U.S. administration's peace plan, which Trump's Middle East team — headed by Kushner — is slated to reveal in the near future.

Fatah officials have said that Israel and the United States are trying to use the plan to cut off the Gaza Strip from the West Bank diplomatically. The PA has said that it considers Egyptian support for the plan as a means of pressure on the PA to agree to reconciliation with Hamas.

Fatah calls the agreement coming about between Israel and Hamas a second revolt against the PA by Hamas, which is motivated by narrow interests of the movement and not national considerations to the benefit of the Palestinian people. By its behavior, Hamas is giving a gift to Israel, Fatah added.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said that the agreement now being formulated, and the calm that would prevail if it is concluded, would be by Palestinian national consensus and that Fatah and the PA cannot preach to Hamas when they are coordinating security with Israel and are living under its boot.

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