Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), Saeb Erekat, has said that Jared Kushner’s motives in organising the Manama workshop were to endorse the initiative of an Israeli Council of Settlements, as an alternative to the Arab Peace Initiative.
Erekat indicated during an interview with Today’s File on Palestine TV: “Jared Kushner’s motivation behind organising the Manama workshop is to endorse the initiative of an Israeli Council of Settlements as an alternative to the Arab Peace Initiative which he tries to bring down through what he put forward during the workshop.” He also drew attention to US Treasury Secretary’s comments, who addressed the workshop attendees saying: “There is a lot of money in this room.”
Erekat referred to Kushner’s statements during the workshop:
There are four indisputable issues, namely: peace, prosperity, stability and freedom of religion. Kushner implied that what impedes the development of the Palestinian people but he does not mention the occupation, even a single time. Nor did he discuss UN Security Council Resolutions, International Law, or the two-state solution. However, Kushner brought the Arab Peace Initiative only to dismiss it.
PLO Secretary-General stressed: “Our Arab brothers will not accept changes to the Arab Peace Initiative. We will not allow them to alter even one single letter of the Initiative.”
He referred to what President Mahmoud Abbas said at the recently held Arab Summit and Islamic Summit that “the security of Palestine goes hand in hand with the security of Saudi Arabia, Arab countries and Egypt. There is a workshop organised by the US administration in Manama. We as Palestinians will not participate in the workshop. We are asking all the countries that received invitations to the workshop to abstain from attending. On the other hand, we did not ask anyone to negotiate or talk on our behalf.”
Erekat responded to those who claim that President Abbas is wasting opportunities: “What kind of opportunities are those? How can we talk about economic development under occupation?”
He went on to refer to the election of the State of Palestine to the presidency of the Group of 77 and mentioned multiple initiatives undertaken by the Palestinian government that resulted in persuading several countries not to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem; adding: “Who is the isolated party?”
Erekat clarified that President Mahmoud Abbas is under attack as a representative of his people and a just cause, standing still and adhering to the constants of the Palestinian cause and the rights of Palestinians. He also referred to the Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs’ statement, who said: “We have to get rid of President Mahmoud Abbas.”
PLO Secretary-General expressed his appreciation to the countries that abstained from attending the Manama workshop, highlighting the statements of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, which stressed the two countries’ commitment to the principle of establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. He revealed that he received a call from Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who affirmed Egypt’s commitment to what the Palestinians accept.
Erekat insisted that the most important thing that should be achieved now is the Palestinian national unity and eliminating all triggers of division, recalling Abbas’s efforts to prevent the decision to label Hamas as a terrorist organisation. However, he called on Hamas to implement the signed agreements to hold the general elections.
He asserted that President Abbas is restless to meet the Palestinian citizens’ needs and secure their salaries; stating that Abbas’s fundamental concern, along with the Palestinian leadership, is to strengthen the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, in light of the conspiracies, pressures and Israeli piracy of our financial resources. As such, President Abbas is aware of the price he is paying for upholding the rights of our people.
Erekat addressed the Palestinian people saying: “Many countries have never supported us as we are now. This support is the outcome of our dignified stances, which are based on international legitimacy. We do not want you to give up. This is our cause, our future and our land, which Allah honoured us to defend along with the nation’s Arabic identity. We shall be fine.”