Amid scepticism, Trump promises Palestinians 'something very good'

Amid scepticism, Trump promises Palestinians 'something very good'
3 min read
22 August, 2018
Backlash followed Trump's cryptic statements saying Israelis would now pay 'a higher price' after the Jerusalem move, and promised Palestinians 'something very good' as part of a peace deal.
Trump championed his decision on Jerusalem at a rally in West Virginia [Getty]
US President Donald Trump said at a rally on Tuesday night that Israel will pay "a higher price" in negotiations with the Palestinians now that he has recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Charleston, West Virginia, Trump said the Palestinians "will get something very good" in any future negotiations, as it is "their turn next".

In response to Tuesday's comments, a top aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Majdi al-Khaldi, said that the only possible “compensation” for recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital would be to recognise the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Khaldi added that the US must also recognise the two-state solution as the “the sole solution”.

Senior Palestinian official Ahmad al-Tamimi dismissed the US president's assertion during his address that he had removed Jerusalem from future negotiations as "a continuation of the US policies in favour of Israel".

Read more: Enshrining apartheid: Israel's fig leaf democracy officially dies

At the rally on Tuesday, Trump championed his decision on Jerusalem that sparked months of violently quashed protests, saying that it will ease future negotiations.

"If there's ever going to be peace - remember I said it - with the Palestinians, it was a good thing to have done because we took it off the table, because every time there were peace talks they never got past Jerusalem," Trump said.

“We took it off the table. In past negotiations, they never got past Jerusalem. Now Israel will have to pay a higher price, because it’s off the table. The Palestinians will get something very good, because it’s their turn next,” he told his followers.

Trump's Jerusalem decision ruptured all diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority, maintaining it revealed US pro-Israel bias and that it could no longer be a non-partisan broker. Palestinians are now staunchly sceptical of any US proposal to "solve" the conflict.

The move has greatly complicated efforts by Trump's administration to broker what he has called the "deal of the century," as the Palestinians will no longer accept US mediation.

Trump's cryptic statements have led many to question what "higher price" the Israelis could pay, seeing as the issue oof Jerusalem was a top priority. However, some believe Trump is referring to the end of the siege on the Gaza Strip.

Indirect negotiations have been underway for weeks and between Gaza's Hamas leaders and Israel, facilitated by Egypt and the United Nations. An easing of the blockade is reportedly being agreed on, however many are doubtful of a comprehensive end to the siege.

On Tuesday, Hamas' leader Ismail Haniyeh said during an address to mark Eid al-Adha that that an end to the more than decade-long blockade was "around the corner".

In spite of Trump's victorious tone, his statements on "taking Jerusalem off the table" left many to question whether he understood the conflict at all.

Israel has still not declared its borders, and its separation wall, including parts surrounding Jerusalem, annex Palestinian territory.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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