World, Middle East

PA mulling 'suspension' of recognition of Israel: PLO

Move comes in advance of planned relocation of US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

PA mulling 'suspension' of recognition of Israel: PLO

Palestinian Territory

RAMALLAH, Palestine

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) is considering the “suspension” of its recognition of Israel, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official said Tuesday.

“There is no alternative for the Palestinians but to suspend their recognition of Israel,” Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO’s influential Executive Committee, said in a statement.   

The PA and the PLO -- both of which recognize Israel -- are both led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, which favors negotiations with the Jewish state.

Erekat’s assertions reportedly come in response to recent hints by U.S. President Donald Trump that he might take part in the inauguration of Washington’s new embassy in Jerusalem -- an event slated for May.

According to Erekat, Trump’s decision last December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “was intended to isolate Jerusalem but has instead isolated the U.S." 

“We can only implement the [PLO] Central Council’s recommendation to suspend recognition of Israel until Israel recognizes the state of Palestine,” Erekat said.  

On Monday, Trump hinted that he could take part in the official inauguration of Washington’s controversial new diplomatic mission in Jerusalem. 

Last December, the U.S. president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, sparking condemnation and protest across much of the Middle East.

He later said Washington’s Israel embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment.  

In January, the PLO’s Central Committee granted the Executive Committee the authority to “suspend” Palestinian recognition of Israel until the latter formally recognizes the state of Palestine.  

While the PLO recognized Israel in 1993 within the framework of the Oslo Accords, Israel has yet to recognize the Palestinians' right to a state of their own.  

Last week, the U.S. administration announced plans to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14 -- the day Israel was established in 1948.

The date, however, also coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (“catastrophe”), when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their ancestral homes to make way for the new state of Israel.

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