United States is trying to establish an alternative Palestinian leadership in response to the Palestinian rejection of Washington’s sponsorship of the political process following US President Donald Trump's decision to consider Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to a Palestinian security official.
Palestinian security services spokesman Maj-Gen Adnan Damiri indicated that the United States has in fact started a series of steps to undermine the Palestinian leadership, and is now seeking to promote alternative figures.
“Challenges are now clear, after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced the transfer of US embassy to the city, and after the leadership and the Palestinian people stood firmly and clearly against the resolution," he said during a visit to security institutions.
Without mentioning names, Damiri, and later Palestinian sources who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat, indicated that those who communicated with Washington and Israel in order to ensure a place in the future are known to the Palestinian authority.
The sources said attempts to find alternative leadership were not new, but were now apparently more urgent than ever. They stressed that both United States and Israel are cooperate in order to establish alternative leadership.
US officials as well as Israelis met with academics, businessmen and several figures to discuss their future after current President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the sources.
It is no secret that Israeli officials began a new policy a year ago to cooperate with Palestinian figures to discuss the region.
A few months ago, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s aide met with Palestinian figures several times as part of his controversial "carrot and stick" plan.
The plan is based on creating means of communication with Palestinians that bypasses the Palestinian president in exchange of economic rewards for areas that adhere to security measures.
The Israeli ministry, headed by Lieberman, has already drawn up a list of Palestinian Authority figures, academics, businessmen and clerics, seeking direct dialogue with them away from political leadership.
Few days ago, Lieberman claimed that several Palestinian financial figures are calling on Israel to remove the Palestinian president describing him as "an obstacle to peace and to the advancement of the Palestinian economy."
Lieberman's statement came at a time when other officials announced that the Israeli security system was discussing scenarios for time after Abbas.
US President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt, met at various times with Palestinian figures from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Washington publicly supports Palestinian figures, Palestinian activists say. However, Palestinian officials indicate that Israel and US will not find "Lahad forces" (South Lebanon Army) here or anyone willing to abdicate Jerusalem.
Relations between the PA and Washington became tense after Trump's recognition of Jerusalem, and the situation aggravated after Abbas refused to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence. The two sides then entered a confrontation in the Security Council and the United Nations before Abbas stepped up and launched an attack on Washington announcing that it will not be a mediator for any political process.
Trump responded by threatening to enforce sanctions and further pressure is expected through the block of financial aid, acceleration of settlement establishment and intensifying attacks, particularly in Jerusalem.
"The leadership will continue to face the recent US decision, in coordination with brotherly and friendly countries, organizations and liberals of the world. The threats will only push us to fight more for our national rights," Damiri indicated.
The Palestinian president is now seeking to replace the United States as the sole sponsor of the political process, with an international mechanism under the umbrella of the United Nations.
PA Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad Maliki reiterated on Monday the administration’s ambition to be granted full UN member status, which was first submitted in 2011, ahead of the convening of the United Nations Security Council, on 20 February.
Maliki highlighted the need for international protection for Palestinians suffering under Israeli occupation. He stated that the leadership will approach the Security Council in February to demand international protection to the people of Palestine under Israeli occupation.
Speaking to the state-owned radio station, the FM asserted that they will call on the Security Council to renew obligations to past resolutions concerning Israeli settlement building, namely Resolution 2334.
Kuwait is going to chair the Security Council in February during which many meetings will be held including the closed monthly meeting on February 20 to discuss the situation in the Middle East, followed by an open meeting of the Security Council on February 21 to discuss implementing previous UN resolutions.