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PA to Trump: We will not give up on Jerusalem

PA says there will be no solution to the conflict as long as Jerusalem isn't the capital of "Palestine".

The Fatah movement headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who also serves as chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), stressed on Wednesday that there will be no solution to the conflict or peace if Jerusalem is not recognized as the capital of the state of “Palestine”, even if that means the conflict continues forever.

In response to U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks about him taking the issue of Jerusalem off the negotiating table, Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmeh said it was a serious mistake, because Trump believed the Palestinian leadership, headed by Abbas, would agree to a partial settlement or a solution that did not include Jerusalem.

“Trump must understand that even if all the pressures and threats are put on us and all the temptations are presented to us, we will never agree to any solution that does not include Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine,” Qawasmeh said.

He stressed that the only solution lies in implementing the decisions of the international institutions, and any move that tries to circumvent them will be worthless.

Trump, speaking Tuesday night at a rally in West Virginia, said Israel will have to pay a "high price" in its negotiations with the PA in return for his decision to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Trump said that since Jerusalem is now "off the table", Israel will have to give something in return to the Palestinian Arabs.

"If there's ever going to be peace with the Palestinians, then this was a good thing to have done," Trump said in reference to the embassy move. "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, cause it's their turn next."

Senior PA official Ahmad al-Tamimi said earlier on Wednesday that Trump’s assertion that he had removed Jerusalem from future negotiations was "a continuation of the U.S. policies in favor of Israel".

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton was asked about Trump’s comments on Wednesday and said they did not indicate a change in U.S. policy.

“I don’t think there’s any change in policy. I think the president looked at the recognition of Jerusalem as being Israel’s capital and the inevitable consequence of that – that the US embassy ought to be in the capital city of the country which its accredited as the right and natural thing to do, and it’s not an issue of quid pro quo,” said Bolton.

“He’s made the point, I think, several times that this issue has been a hang up in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. And as he said last night as well, he’s taken that issue off the table. As a deal-maker... he would expect that the Palestinians would say, ‘Okay, great – we didn’t get that one, now we want something else.’ We’ll see how it goes,” he added.

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