Palestinian official likens Trump peace efforts to 'herding cows to slaughter'

Donald Trump shakes hands with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House (AFP Photo)

U.S. President Donald Trump's hard-line approach to the Palestinians is similar to herding cows for slaughter, a top Palestinian official said Tuesday.

The comments came a day after the U.S. leader welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington and ahead of the expected launch of Trump's plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

"Today what is happening with us is what you call in the United States a cattle shoot trap," Mohammad Shtayyeh, an adviser to president Mahmud Abbas, told journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"They bring the cattle in a yard with a single exit, with a man on a horse and a whip. And they keep pushing the cow into the trap. By the time every single cow gets through, it is shot in the head with an electric gun, then goes in a belt to the slaughtering house, then we eat it as hamburger."

"With the Palestinians, what is happening is exactly the same."

He listed off a number of controversial Trump decisions, including December's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his freezing of tens of millions in dollars in funding for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, as evidence of a systematic attempt to squeeze them.

Both the Palestinians and Israel see Jerusalem as their capital and the U.S. decision to move its Israeli embassy there prompted the Palestinians to say the White House could no longer be the primary mediator between the two sides.

On Monday during a meeting with Netanyahu, Trump said he might attend the opening of the embassy in May.

Despite the poor relations with the Palestinians, the White House is still expected to present a proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace in the coming weeks.

"The Palestinians, I think, are wanting to come back to the table very badly," Trump said as he sat alongside Netanyahu at the White House.

"If they don't, you don't have peace. And that's a possibility also."