Palestinian PM: God help the world if Trump wins

Mohammad Shtayyeh says it would be a disaster if Trump wins a second term

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh gestures as he talks to reporters during a press conference in Ramallah on May 5, 2020, about the decision announced a day earlier to renew the state of emergency in Palestinian-ruled areas of the occupied West Bank. - The Palestinian Authority renewed the coronavirus lockdown for a further month while easing some measures, extending the state of emergency in place since March 22, until at least June 5. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

The Palestinian prime minister said today it would be disastrous for his people and the world if Donald Trump wins re-election next month.

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

“If we are going to live another four years with President Trump, God help us and the whole world," he commented posted on his Facebook page.

The Palestinians have traditionally refrained from taking an explicit public position in American presidential elections.

Mr Shtayyeh’s comments reflect the sense of desperation felt by Palestinians after a series of US moves that have left them weakened and isolated.

The Palestinians severed ties with Mr Trump after he recognised contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and subsequently moved the American Embassy to the holy city.

Mr 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 that largely favoured Israel. The Palestinians have rejected the plan out of hand.

U.S. President Donald Trump throws a face mask from the stage during a campaign rally, his first since being treated for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Orlando Sanford International Airport in Sanford, Florida, U.S., October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The Trump administration also persuaded the UAE 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 would only follow an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal — a rare source of leverage for the Palestinians.

Mr 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.”