Arab League calls for UN-backed ‘multilateral’ push for peace in Palestine


The Arab League has called for the US-brokered efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be replaced by a “multilateral mechanism” that is also backed by the United Nations, after US President Donald Trump undermined the process by recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.

In a statement at the end of their two-day session in the Egyptian capital Cairo to discuss Trump’s declaration, Arab foreign ministers said Thursday that it was time for the “creation of an international and multilateral mechanism under the aegis of the United Nations to sponsor the peace process.”

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the head of the organization, told a media briefing that the peace process should no longer remain “within the hands” of only one faction.

Palestinians hope the eastern parts of Jerusalem al-Quds would become the capital of a fully sovereign and independent Palestine.

Ever since Trump’s announcement in early December, Palestine has frozen ties with his administration. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that his side would no longer accept Washington as a mediator.

Doubling down on that position, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told reporters following the Thursday session that the “old mechanism has ceased to exist and is history.”

“It will not bother us should the United States be part of the (new) mechanism,” the diplomat added.

US aid cut

Earlier, the Arab officials slammed a decision by Trump to cut US funding for UNRWA, a UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees and is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states.

Days after his controversial decision, Trump said he would withhold some $65 million of the $125 million in aid Washington had earmarked for the new year unless the Palestinian Authority agreed to continue the so-called peace talks with Israel.

“It is no secret that this trend poses a threat to the refugee issue… as well as the negative consequences that will not only affect the receiving countries of refugees, but also the stability and security of the region,” Aboul Gheit said.

More than half of the two million people living in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip are in dire need of help by UNRWA and other similar agencies. Palestinians say the funding cut is bound to exacerbate life conditions in the coastal enclave, where the unemployment rate is a whopping 46 percent.

Source: Press TV