Palestinian president brands US envoy a ‘son of a dog’

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Palestinian president brands US envoy a ‘son of a dog’

Mahmoud Abbas hits out at ambassador David Friedman over his close ties to the West Bank settler movement

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

The Palestinian president has called the US ambassador toIsrael a “son of a dog” in an angry rant against the Trump administration.

In a speech on Monday, President Mahmoud Abbas pre-emptively rejected an expected White House peace proposal.

He criticised the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the American plan to move its embassy to the city and the cutting off of hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

He also condemned ambassador David Friedman’s close ties with the West Bank settler movement, describing him as a “son of a dog”.

“Some say wait for their plan,” Mr Abbas said. “What shall we wait for? No, we will not wait, and we will not allow that.”

He added: “Many said, ‘Why don’t you go to Washington?’. They want us to go to Washington to sign. We will not accept that, and we will not let it pass.”

Mr Friedman responded to the remarks at a conference on anti-Semitism in Jerusalem.

He said Mr Abbas’s “response was to refer to me as a son of a dog. Anti-Semitism or political discourse? Not for me to judge. I leave that all up to you”.

In an address to members of his Fatah party, Mr Abbas also took aim at the rival Hamas militant group, accusing it of being behind an attempted assassination last week of his prime minister and security chief, and threatening to retaliate.

David Friedman being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence

Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah in 2007, and attempts at reconciliation have repeatedly failed. The US has been pushing for progress in reconciliation in the run-up to its peace proposal.

Mr Abbas said he was furious over the bomb that targeted the convoy carrying his prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, and security chief last week, which did not seriously injure anyone.

He said he would take new punitive measures against Hamas.

“As president of the Palestinian people I’ve decided to take all national, legal and financial measures,” he said without elaborating.

He said his government will either take full responsibility for Gaza or abandon it to Hamas, a step that would in effect end the dream of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

Mr Abbas has already taken steps to put pressure on Hamas, including reducing electricity supplies to Gaza and cutting the salaries of former civil servants.

Those steps, along with an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, have worsened Gaza’s long-running humanitarian crisis.

Earlier this month, the US hosted a “brainstorming” conference on how to improve conditions in Gaza.

“After 10 years, they realised that the Gaza humanitarian situation is tough,” Mr Abbas said derisively.

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