Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed Saturday the United States seeks to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as part of its efforts to reach the "deal of the century" between Israel and the Palestinians.
"In order to target the leadership, the US administration starts by creating a state of destabilization and confusion in the West Bank and at the same time works on undercutting international consensus on rejecting the so-called deal of the century and American conspiracies and support for the Palestinian cause," said Erekat, the PLO secretary-general.
US President Donald Trump's Middle East team—led by his son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner and his envoy to the region Jason Greenblatt—has been on a tour of the region this week, holding meetings with leaders in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel in an effort to promote the president's yet-unveiled peace plan.
During their meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, Kushner and Greenblatt discussed "ways to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, while maintaining Israel's security," according to a White House press release.
Erekat, speaking to the Voice of Palestine radio, asserted that the focus on the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is motivated by nefarious goals.
"They want to terminate the role of UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees) by proposing direct aid to the countries hosting the Palestinian refugees and sideline the UN agency," he claimed. "On top of this, they are planning financial aid to the Gaza Strip worth one billion dollars for projects, also separate from UNRWA and under the title of solving a humanitarian crisis. All this is actually aimed at liquidating the issue of the Palestinian refugees."
According to Erekat, Netanyahu told Kushner and Geenblatt that he was ready to provide for Gaza's needs from tax money and customs revenues Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
"The goal behind this is to sustain the coup and keep Gaza separated from the West Bank on the way to creating a mini-state in Gaza while bringing down the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank," the PLO official said.
Meanwhile, Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh warned of reaching a dead end in the peace process.
"The American delegation should abandon the illusion that creating false facts and falsifying history are going to help it sell those illusions," he said.
Trying to bypass the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, Abu Rudeineh stressed, will not work.
"The right address for achieving a just and lasting peace that cannot be bypassed—neither regionally nor internationally—is the Palestinian decision-maker represented by President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership supported by the legitimate international community and the Arabs, who made this clear to the American delegation," he said.
Palestinian officials are not meeting the American team after rejecting the US as peace broker following Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his moving the embassy there.
The Palestinians saw the decision as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in the conflict, arguing it disqualifies the US from its traditional role.