Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has sent delegations to China and Russia to ask them to take a greater role in the peace process with Israel, a Palestinian official said Tuesday as the Palestinian leadership is disillusioned with the United States and its role as a mediator after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, ignoring international resolutions and treaties.
Saleh Raafat, a member of the Palestinian delegation visiting Russia, told the French news agency AFP that Abbas had tasked the delegates with pushing Chinese and Russian leaders to back peace talks.
"We are now in Russia, and some of us will go to Beijing to deliver the same message on the importance of seeking international sponsorship for the peace process under the banner of the United Nations," Raafat said from Moscow.
The news comes hours after the Palestinian leadership also said it would be pursuing a full United Nations membership in the wake of Trump’s biased actions in favor of Israel.
The U.S. president ended decades of Washington’s policy stating that the status of the city of Jerusalem must be decided as part of a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.
Abbas has said the U.S. can no longer be a mediator in talks, following Trump's controversial Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying "whoever allows the United States to return as a partner or mediator in the peace process is crazy."
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen since they collapsed in 2014. Trump had said he was keen to restart them to push for the "ultimate deal", but he has yet to reveal his plan.
The United States Congress approved a law in 1995 recognizing Jerusalem as “the undivided capital of Israel” and calling for relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However every president since then, besides Trump, has invoked a national security waiver to prevent recognition.
In the 1967 war Israel took over the eastern part of the city as well as the West Bank from the Jordan. In 1980, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and declared it as its capital, a move that was rejected by most countries in the world. Palestinians and most of the international community consider East Jerusalem as occupied territory and the future capital of a sovereign Palestinian state.