RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to receive a delegation of U.S. congressmen when they visited the region in March to protest the U.S. decision to relocate its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israeli media reported Friday.
According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the move caught members of the U.S. delegation by surprise, as they were hoping to hear the Palestinian position in regards to U.S. President Donald Trump’s regional policies.
“Abbas refused to meet the delegation even though he knew they were all Democrats and vocal critics of Trump,” Haaretz quoted a Palestinian official as saying.
The official, who was not named, said Abbas wanted to send the message that, despite the Democrats’ criticisms of Trump, they had failed to oppose his decision — in any significant way — to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The 11-member delegation, led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, visited Israel and Jordan and held lengthy meetings with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman.
Tension has mounted in the Palestinian territories since last December, when Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
On May 14, at least 65 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred by Israeli army gunfire in the eastern Gaza Strip.