The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Palestinian leader attacks Trump, calling his peace deal the ‘slap of the century’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian Central Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday. (Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)

JERUSALEM — In a combative, two-hour speech brimming with colorful insults, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced President Trump on Sunday, calling his forthcoming peace proposal "the slap of the century."

He said Palestinians were being offered the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis as the capital of their future state, rather than East Jerusalem, which most of the international community considers illegally occupied by Israel. The area sits outside Israel's security barrier and has been floated but rejected as a capital for a Palestinian state in previous negotiations. 

"We said no to Trump," Abbas said. "We won't accept his project; his deal of the century is the slap of the century, and we will respond."

Trump has charged his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt with working out "the deal of the century" — a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. They have not formally presented a plan.

Abbas was addressing members of the Palestinian Central Council as they began to discuss their response to the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Proposals include rescinding Palestinian recognition of Israel, pursuing Israel for war crimes at the International Criminal Court and advancing efforts for a Palestinian state to be recognized internationally. 

While Trump said at the time that the Jerusalem decision would have no impact on the final status of the contested city, he later tweeted that it had been taken "off the table" for negotiations, from which he accused the Palestinians of walking away. 

Discussing the tweets, Abbas said there were no negotiations to walk away from. 

"I see a tweet," he said. "We will not give Palestinians money because they refuse to negotiate."

His frustration was evident. "May your house be destroyed," he said, aiming a common Arab insult at Trump. 

He questioned where Trump had offered negotiations. "On the phone? On television?" 

Abbas has said that the United States can no longer be a fair arbiter for negotiations, but that the Palestinians are open to talks in line with the Arab Peace Initiative, a framework endorsed by the Arab League in 2002. 

Abbas also had sharp barbs for U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, whom he criticized for his support of Jewish settlements, and the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley. The pair are an "insult" to any self-respecting U.S. administration, he said. 

Haley, he said, wears high heels "not for elegance but to use to hit anyone who attacks Israel." 

"I say to her, and let her hear me, our reaction will be worse," he said. Haley last month said she would be "taking names" of countries that voted for a U.N. resolution that criticized the recognition of Jerusalem, as Trump threatened aid cuts to those that did. 

Abbas said the Palestinians are at a "critical moment." 

Some Palestinian officials say they also plan to request that the United Nations come up with a detailed peace proposal as a basis for negotiations and bypass using the United States as a sole broker. 

There is some skepticism that the Palestinians will go as far as rescinding recognition of Israel. 

Ashraf al-Ajrami, a senior Palestinian official, said there may be a decision to add a caveat that it will continue only if Palestinian rights are recognized. However, Abbas said that the 1993 Oslo peace agreement, in which the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized Israel, was already dead. Israel had destroyed it, he said. 

Officials will continue their meeting on Monday. "The issues that are going to be discussed are primarily new strategic orientations: our relationship with Israel and the United States," said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee. 

Abbas's rebukes were not limited to U.S. officials. He also hinted at less than full-hearted support from regional countries more interested in normalizing ties with Israel, and he lambasted Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls Gaza, for not turning up at the meeting. 

He pledged to continue payments to families of those imprisoned, killed or wounded by Israel, including those who carry out attacks. In a comment widely reported by Israeli media, he quoted an Egyptian philosopher who had said that Israel's quest for a national home for the Jewish people is a "colonialist project" that has "nothing to do with Jews." 

Hazem Balousha contributed from Gaza City.

With Trump in power, emboldened Israelis try redrawing Jerusalem’s boundaries

Israelis voice warnings, Palestinians talk of ‘blackmail’ in wake of tweets by Trump

White House vows to stand firm on Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news