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Palestinians Say Trump's Decision Means U.S. Can't Broker Peace Process


President Trump said yesterday he was recognizing reality by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He insisted he wasn't endorsing specific borders for Jerusalem, and that is the big long-term question since Palestinians want a slice of Jerusalem as a capital for their state. Palestinians have not been impressed by this qualification. They describe the president's move as a sign the United States is no longer an honest broker for peace. NPR's Daniel Estrin is in Ramallah in the West Bank, a Palestinian-dominated area.

Hi, Daniel.


INSKEEP: So where are you, and what've you been hearing?

ESTRIN: I'm in a cafe overlooking the main downtown square in Ramallah. There was a demonstration here. It began small, but then hundreds of people joined. They marched through the streets. They chanted, we're not afraid, we're all going to Jerusalem. There's a strike all across the West Bank. Schools are closed. There are marches in a few cities in the West Bank, reports of clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians in some areas. Israeli troops are spread out in the West Bank. And this is the big test, today and tomorrow - you know, will Trump's decision on Jerusalem really bring Palestinians to the streets?

INSKEEP: But the hope had been that Palestinians would be at a negotiating table with Israelis at some point. That's something that President Trump said he wanted. He wanted to make a big deal. Does this diminish the chances of that?

ESTRIN: Well, I just met, Steve, with Ahmad Majdalani. He's an adviser to the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. And this adviser says peace process with U.S. sponsorship is dead. So that's a dramatic statement. It's the U.S. - you know, the U.S. says it's working on a peace proposal that it wants to present soon, and Abbas' adviser here is suggesting that Palestinians are going to walk away even before Trump presents that proposal.

He says the Palestinians are going to pursue their goal of an independent state through international channels at the U.N. So President Abbas right now is going to be meeting with the king of Jordan to coordinate strategy. Meanwhile, the rival Palestinian group - the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip - is calling for an intifada, an uprising. And there is a protest by Arab governments about this, as well.

INSKEEP: You're saying that Palestinians would walk away from any U.S.-sponsored proposal because they no longer trust the United States. They no longer believe the United States is trying to reach an accommodation with both sides. Is that it?

ESTRIN: That's right. They say, with Trump's decision, he's taken Israel's side on the core issue - Jerusalem - and they don't trust Trump to be an honest broker in this.

INSKEEP: Anything else you're hearing from Palestinians today?

ESTRIN: An interesting quote that I want to play for you from 25-year-old Odei Abu Doha (ph).

ODEI ABU DOHA: (Foreign language spoken).

ESTRIN: He's saying, "the only solution I see now is a third intifada uprising. Politics, negotiations - they have no impact." And he clarified that what he means by intifada uprising is marches in the streets, it's not violence.

INSKEEP: OK. A snapshot of what Palestinians are thinking today, one day after President Trump's announcement on Jerusalem. NPR's Daniel Estrin. Thanks very much, really appreciate it.

ESTRIN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.