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PA demand US recognise East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

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Palestinian leaders rejected an offer from US President Donald Trump on Wednesday that they would get something “very good” in exchange for US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Ahmed Tamimi, a PLO Executive Committee member, said the US president’s statement that he had taken Jerusalem off the table was, “a continuation of the American policy that supports Israel.” Speaking to Palestinian news agency WAFA, he said Trump’s push for renewed Israeli-Palestinian talks was impossible without, “recognising east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state”.

Trump said on Tuesday that Israel will pay a “high price” in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in return for his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Palestinian negotiator and PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said that “there is no point” to a Palestinian state without “East Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Old City and the walls” as part of the Palestinian capital.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton said yesterday that Trump’s comments did not indicate a change in US policy. He said the US embassy “ought to be in the capital city of the country which it’s accredited” and “is not an issue of quid pro quo”. Yediot Ahronoth claims that several senior Israeli officials anticipate that the US administration’s plan for new Israeli-Palestinian talks will be abandoned due to Palestinian opposition.

The Israeli Civil Administration’s Supreme Planning Committee yesterday approved plans to build 620 new housing units in the West Bank, of which 370 are in Adam. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed to build 400 new units there following the murder of Yotam Ovadia in Adam last month. The Supreme Planning Committee also approved plans to construct 399 housing units in other settlements, including in Nofim, Tzufim and Barkan in the northern West Bank.

Meretz Chairwoman MK Tamar Zandberg said it was “like sticking a finger in the eye of any possible peace process. The government doesn’t care about Israeli interests, only about the interests of settlers.” A Yesha Council spokesperson said: “That is a meagre amount and the smallest number of housing units to have been approved in the past year and a half.”