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Saturday, February 16, 2019, 17:38
Warsaw conference deepens Palestinians' concerns over peace
By Xinhua
Saturday, February 16, 2019, 17:38 By Xinhua

Participants attend a session at the conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland, Feb 14, 2019. (CZAREK SOKOLOWSKI / AP)

RAMALLAH - The Palestinians expressed intense opposition to the Warsaw conference on the Middle East, co-organized by Poland and the United States, where Israel and some Arab states participated. 

Palestinian observers told Xinhua in separate remarks that holding the conference deepened the Palestinians' concerns that the US administration is seeking to jump over the Arab Peace Initiative at the expense of eliminating the Palestinian cause. 

The Arab League released the peace initiative in 2002 in accordance to a proposal presented by Saudi Arabia to find a solution to the Palestinian question. However, Israel rejected the initiative. 

No one is authorized to speak on behalf of the Palestinians. Warsaw conference is an attempt to overcome the Arab Peace Initiative and destroy the Palestinian national cause

 Saeb Erekat, Secretary General, Palestinian Liberation Organization

Several days before the Warsaw conference, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), stated that the Palestinians ignored an invitation to attend the conference and refused to join. 

"No one is authorized to speak on behalf of the Palestinians," Erekat said, adding that "Warsaw conference is an attempt to overcome the Arab Peace Initiative and destroy the Palestinian national cause." 

The Palestinian Authority (PA) presidency also said in an official statement on Thursday that the Middle East question is "political." 

READ MORE: Palestinians ask Arabs to boycott Mideast summit in Poland

Nabil Abu Rdineh, the PA Presidency spokesman, said in an official statement that "without resolving the Palestinian cause based on the principle of the two-state solution ... all conferences and meetings will fail." 

Ties between the PA and the US administration had been severed since US President Donald Trump declared in December 2017 that Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel and moved his country's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

Since Trump's declaration, the Palestinians have been calling for finding an international mechanism to sponsor the peace talks with Israel. 

Jehad Harb, a West Bank-based writer and political analyst, said that "Warsaw conference is a US attempt to overcome the Palestinian boycott of the US administration since its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." 

"For the Palestinians, the US position contradicts with the Arab Peace Initiative and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, which were mentioned in the texts of the international resolutions," Harb said. 

He added that the Palestinian leadership kept boycotting the US administration "because it blindly supports Israel, and it is also a partner with Israel because it defends Israel's violations and negative positions." 

A Palestinian man carries the national flag during a demonstration near the fence along the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, on Feb 8, 2019. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

The Palestinians still show a strict position towards the US administration and keep challenging the US President Donald Trump's peace plan, which is called "Deal of the Century." 

ALSO READ: Iran summons Polish envoy in protest against upcoming summit

However, they may change their position if the US regrets its policy and becomes committed to the two-state solution. 

The US administration also decided not to pay its annual financial share to the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). 

Hani Habib, a Gaza-based political analyst, said that "the current US administration began its hostile position towards the Palestinians from the very first day it took office in the White House." 

"Inviting Arab countries like Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco to participate in Warsaw conference shows the real goals to hold bilateral and multilateral dialogue between them and Israel," Habib said. 

Habib added that "this is a serious shift in the file of normalization between the Arabs and Israel." 

The analyst warned that "the US goals of holding such a conference may lead to develop a major step towards establishing an Arab-Israeli NATO." 

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