Trump to unveil Israeli-Palestinian peace plan during Netanyahu visit

Trump to unveil Israeli-Palestinian peace plan during Netanyahu visit
Trump to unveil Israeli-Palestinian peace plan during Netanyahu visit

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - US President Donald Trump will unveil his long-delayed peace plan on Tuesday in a bid to solve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He announced the rolling out of the plan alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, despite the Palestinians rejecting the plan ahead of its release and not being invited to Washington. He said it would be released at midday local time.

Mr Trump said the Israeli prime minister and his rival Benny Gantz, who is also in Washington for a meeting with the president ahead of a March election, would like the plan. Mr Netanyahu called the political outline for a solution to the conflict, which is expected to be largely pro-Israel in its content, the "opportunity of a century".

The Palestinian prime minister on Monday called on the world to reject the peace plan, 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 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," Mr Shtayyeh told a cabinet meeting.

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

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 consulted on the political component of the deal, 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.

Alleged leaks of the plan - denied by Mr Trump - have suggested 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 Israel is 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.

Democrats have also expressed their opposition. Senator Bob Menendez and chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Eliot L Engel released a statement on Monday that criticised Mr Trump's approach to solving the conflict.

“The establishment of a Palestinian state would provide a home for millions of Palestinians. The Palestinian people deserve the right to self-determination, and the United States should support this goal," it said.

“A two-state solution cannot be born on the backs of unilateral actions from either side. Unilateral actions do not contribute to a sustainable peace and would not serve U.S. interests. Unilateral steps would make it harder to come back to the negotiating table and could set unrealistic expectations and unachievable demands."

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 08:57 PM

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