Palestinian president: US can no longer oversee peace process

Palestinian president: US can no longer oversee peace process
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday that President TrumpDonald John Trump20 weeks out from midterms, Dems and GOP brace for surprises Sessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Kim Jong Un to visit Beijing this week MORE's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital undercut the ability of the United States to broker a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis.

"We reject the American decision over Jerusalem," Abbas said in a statement reported by Reuters. "With this position the United States has become no longer qualified to sponsor the peace process."

Trump has vowed to broker a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, which he has called the "ultimate deal."

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But his announcement on Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel prompted backlash from leaders in the Arab and Muslim worlds, who warned that the decision would stir outrage and instability in the region.

Abbas's rejection of U.S.-brokered negotiations on Friday highlighted the intense response to Trump's decision, as well as the challenge he faces in trying to get both sides to come to the table for peace talks.

The status of Jerusalem has been a subject fraught with political peril and controversy. The city is home to holy sites revered by Christians, Muslims and Jews, and Palestinians have for decades aspired to establish it as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

But in making his announcement on Wednesday, Trump cast the decision as simply a recognition of reality, noting that Jerusalem is already the seat of the Israeli government.

He said that his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital should not be construed to mean that the U.S. is taking sides on the city's final status in negotiations.

Since Trump's decision, protesters across the Middle East have taken to the streets to voice outrage at the move. Two Palestinians were killed and dozens more were injured in clashes in Gaza on Friday.

U.S. embassies in the Middle East and Europe have warned Americans of violent protests in the wake of Trump's announcement, and on Wednesday, the State Department issued a "Worldwide Caution" urging U.S. citizens to "to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling." That caution did not specifically mention the president's decision.