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Palestinian Authority PM: God help us if Trump reelected

The Palestinian Authority prime minister has said it will be disastrous for his people and the world at large if US President Donald Trump wins re-election next month.

Speaking remotely to European lawmakers, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the last four years of the Trump administration have greatly harmed the Palestinians.

“If we are going to live another four years with President Trump, God help us… and the whole world,” Shtayyeh said Monday. The comments were posted on his Facebook page.

The Palestinians have traditionally refrained from taking an explicit public position in American presidential elections. Shtayyeh’s comments reflected the sense of exasperation on the Palestinian side after a series of US moves in support of Israel that have left them weakened and isolated.

The Palestinians severed ties with Trump after he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017 and subsequently moved the United States Embassy to the city. Trump has also cut off hundreds of millions of dollars of American aid to the Palestinians, shut the Palestinian diplomatic offices in Washington and issued a Middle East plan this year seen as largely favoring Israel. The Palestinians have rejected the plan, which envisions some 30 percent of the West Bank coming under Israeli sovereignty.

“Four years have been really wasted,” Shtayyeh said of Trump’s time in office. “We were waiting for the ultimate deal and everyone was hoping that the ultimate deal would really be a deal and be ultimate. Unfortunately it has not been.”

The Trump administration also has persuaded two Arab countries, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel and promised that other Arab nations will follow suit. These deals have undercut the traditional Arab consensus that recognition of Israel only come in return for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal — a rare source of leverage for the Palestinians.

Shtayyeh expressed hope that a victory by the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would raise prospects for a peace deal.

“If things are going to change in the United States I think this will reflect itself directly on the Palestinian-Israeli relationship,” he said. “And it will reflect itself also on the bilateral Palestinian-American relationship.”

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