Palestinian prime minister rejects Trump peace plan ahead of unveiling

Palestinian prime minister rejects Trump peace plan ahead of unveiling
Palestinian prime minister rejects Trump peace plan ahead of unveiling

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The Palestinian prime minister on Monday called on the world to reject US President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the decades-long conflict, saying that it “does not constitute a basis” for a political solution.

Mohammed Shtayyeh, addressing a cabinet meeting, said that Mr Trump’s long-awaited political component of the peace plan was a bid to help the president and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they come under pressure from political troubles at home.

"This is a plan to protect Trump from impeachment and protect (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu from prison. It is not a Middle East peace plan," Shtayyeh told a cabinet meeting.

"This plan gives Israel sovereignty over Palestinian territory," he said.

Trump is expected to unveil his "peace plan" for the Middle East after hosting Monday in Washington Netanyahu and his political rival Benny Gantz.

It comes as Mr Trump is facing an impeachment trial in the Senate while Mr Netanyahu, who is facing indictment over corruption allegations, will contest an election next month which Mr Gantz is hoping to win.

"We call on the international community to not be partners in this because it contravenes international law," Mr Shtayyeh told the Palestinian cabinet.

"The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale."

The Palestinians have not been invited to Washington, having cut all ties with the Trump administration over its pro-Israel stance.

The Trump administration has relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem, effectively recognising the city as Israel’s capital. The Palestinians seek the city’s eastern sector to be the future capital of any sovereign state.

Only Guatemala followed in the US’ footsteps in moving its diplomatic mission to Jerusalem.

The plan is widely expected to be the most favourable towards Israel ever proposed by the United States, with alleged leaks - denied by Trump - suggesting it could declare settlements in the occupied West Bank legal.

The US proposal could also pull back from the creation of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital after Trump in 2018 recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

While the US and Israel are likely to be supportive of the plan, the reaction of international powers could be key. The European Union is likely to reaffirm its support for a two-state solution.

Mr Shtayyeh said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would call a meeting of the Palestinian leadership to discuss the best ways to respond to the plan.

In Gaza on Monday a few hundred Palestinians protested against the Trump plan, which Palestinians ironically call the "Deal of the Century".

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Jared Kushner speaks on the peace plan in February 2019

Updated: January 27, 2020 06:30 PM

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