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Abbas Calls for Emergency Meetings ahead of US Plan for Mideast Peace
Snubbing Trump, embracing Putin. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) greets Russian President Vladimir Putin in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on January 23. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Abbas Calls for Emergency Meetings ahead of US Plan for Mideast Peace

Hamas official says he’ll be by PA leader’s side when plan is unveiled, calling for Palestinians to ‘band together’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called for an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership to take place in Ramallah on Tuesday as US President Donald Trump, in Washington, unveils his long-awaited peace plan.

The plan, said by Washington to be aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, is believed to be heavily weighted in favor of Israel. The PA has already rejected it and called for the Palestinian rank and file to express its anger.

A top aide to Abbas told The Media Line that the PA leader turned away phone calls from the White House to discuss the matter with the US president.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” the aide said.

The PA on Tuesday also called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to take place at the ministerial level in Cairo on Saturday to discuss implications of the plan.

In a rare show of unity, Abbas invited Hamas members to participate in Tuesday’s emergency meeting at the Muqata, the presidential compound in Ramallah. Omar Abdel Razek, a Hamas delegate to the Palestinian Legislative Council, confirmed to The Media Line that he will attend.

Razek called the invitation a “positive step” toward attaining Palestinian unity. He said the Palestinians were facing a “dangerous situation” and needed to “band together.”

On Tuesday morning, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat met with Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, at Erekat’s office in the West Bank town of Jericho.

“We affirmed our [Palestinian] positions,” Erekat said in a statement, “which include ending the occupation; [establishing] two states along the pre-1967 borders; no settlements [and] no annexation.”

Erekat said that for Palestinians, the framework must be within relevant Security Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as the “foundation for a lasting and comprehensive peace.”

On Monday evening, Abbas’s office called on Arab and Muslim ambassadors to Washington to stay away from the event at which President Trump unveils his “ill fated” plan, declaring it “a conspiracy aimed at undermining the rights of our Palestinian people and thwarting the establishment of a state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Abbas spokesman Nabeel Abu Rudeineh said in a statement.

Certain aspects of the US plan have been leaked, but Ziad Abu Zayyad, a former Palestinian official, told The Media Line he does not believe all of them.

“Not everything leaked and published about the so-called deal of the century is necessarily true,” he said. “What we are hearing in the media does not constitute a final basis for the plan.”

According to the leaks, the plan, among other things, will green-light Israel’s annexation of the Jordan Valley and a majority of Israeli settlements; allow for continued Israeli control over all of Jerusalem; and award no compensation to Palestinian refugees.

Abu Zayyad believes it is premature to judge the proposal.

“It’s wise to wait for the official plan to come out with all the details,” he stated. “The Palestinians should build on the positives – if it has any.”

He also argues that the timing of the plan’s unveiling was carefully chosen.

“Trump has been impeached and is looking to be re-elected, and he knows that the only force that can keep him in power is the right-wing Jewish lobby in America [together] with the Evangelical Christian Right.”

Abbas’s Fatah party has called for massive demonstrations to protest the plan. Yet Monir Aljaghoub, head of Fatah’s Information Department in the Office of Mobilization and Organization, insisted to The Media Line that it was not calling for violence.

“That’s what Israel wants,” he stated. “They want to drag us to engage with them violently so they can justify their use of force against us.”

Aljaghoub insists that President Trump is not at all interested in resolving the decades-long conflict.

“This is [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s plan; it’s not Trump’s,” he said. “Trump is managing the conflict. His plan will not lead to ending it.”

Like Abu Zayyad, he also questions the US president’s motives for unveiling the plan at this time.

“This is a purely political move,” he said. “Trump is facing re-election and wants to secure a win. The same is true for Netanyahu, who is struggling to keep his own seat.”

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