Responding to what he described as “distortions and lies” by US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, about Palestine’s capital, Jerusalem, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), stressed that East Jerusalem, with its old city and holy places, is the capital of Palestine.
“The conspiracy of the century specified that Abu Dis and Kufr Aqab can be named as Palestine’s capital,” Erekat said in reference to the American so-called deal of the century and the two East Jerusalem neighborhoods that fall beyond Israel’s apartheid barrier, which Friedman said in a press interview will be the capital of the future state of Palestine when he said the capital will be “in Jerusalem”, but not Jerusalem.
The US recognized in December 2018 all of Jerusalem, with its occupied East, as capital of Israel in defiance of international law and United Nations resolutions that consider Israel’s occupation as illegal and later moved the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“East Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine, is the old city of Jerusalem, Haram Al-Sharif (Al-Aqsa Mosque compound), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, all quarters, the seven gates, Musrara, Salah Aldin St.; 6 square kilometers occupied since1967. This is Jerusalem the Capital of the State of Palestine,” he said in reference to the total area of East Jerusalem inside and outside the old city.
“Lies and distortions of one of the authors of the conspiracy of the century are doomed to failure. There is no meaning to Palestine to become a State without its full sovereignty on the Haram Al-Sharif, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Walls, the narrow streets, the gate to heaven; Jerusalem of the ascendance to heaven, and resurrection,” added the PLO official who led the Palestinian negotiations with Israel for over a decade.
Meanwhile, a Fatah official denied allegation by Friedman of backchannel talks with the Palestinians, saying that the Palestinian position is clear in rejecting the American plan.
“The deal of the century is rejected from A to Z,” said Usama Qawasmi, member of Fatah Revolutionary Council and the movement’s spokesman. “There is nothing good in it and it cannot serve as a base for talks or to launch a credible political process.”
He said in a statement that that plan would only consolidate an apartheid system and any talk about a Palestinian state is nothing but a deception.
“There are no contacts with the American administration,” he said in response to Friedman’s allegation of back-channel talks. “The Palestinian position is clear and firm: What we want is an international multilateral sponsorship, with the International Quartet (the United Nations, the European Union, Russia, and the United States) playing a major role, and the UN being the reference and the launchpad for dialogue.”
The Palestinian government has also denied in a statement by its spokesman any back-channel talks with Washington.