TOI: In rare rebuke, J Street joins AIPAC in panning Abbas over Jerusalem speech

In a rare reproach, the liberal Mideast policy group J Street rapped Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday for his speech at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which it characterized as “divisive and inflammatory.”

The language mirrored a similar criticism from more hawkish Israel lobbying group AIPAC, which said the Palestinian leader had “set back the cause of peace” with his remarks.

Following US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision last week to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — while setting in motion plans to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv — Abbas on Wednesday urged the international community to roll back its recognition of Israel and said the Palestinians would no longer work with the US and threatened the Palestinians might no longer be bound by commitments agreed to in earlier peace talks.

He also refused to recognize any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

“We will tell the Israelis that we are no longer committed to any agreement from Oslo until today,” Abbas threatened. He declared that the PA intended to return to the United Nations to circumvent negotiations and gain full membership.

“If there is no Palestinian state along the June 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, there will not be peace in the region, in the territories or in the world,” he said. “They must choose.”

While recognizing the Palestinian leader’s frustration with the Trump administration, J Street said it “rejected” his rhetoric and stated that the Palestinian national movement still needed the United States to advance its agenda.

“The US can and must play a vital and productive role in facilitating negotiations toward a comprehensive two-state solution,” the statement said. “The harmful actions of President Trump can be overturned by future administrations and leaders who understand the value of serious diplomacy and the urgent necessity of resolving this conflict.”

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