Palestinians See Renewed Unity in Face of Hated US Peace Plan (with VIDEO)
PA foreign minister: This shows right now that we are embarking on a totally new chapter
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki says the Trump Administration’s long-awaited peace plan, finally unveiled at the White House on Tuesday, will fail.
“They can’t implement the plan without the participation of the Palestinian side, and the Palestinians say no,” he told The Media Line at the Muqata, the PA presidential compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, shortly after the proposal was made public.
Appearing at a podium in the East Room of the White House, President Trump said the plan signified a “new dawn.”
Standing next to him was Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In fact, the room was full – although there were no Palestinians.
In a rare show of unity in Ramallah, PA President Mahmoud Abbas brought all Palestinian factions under one roof for an emergency meeting that coincided with the US announcement. That unity had been absent for more than a decade.
Abbas announced that the PA would now “change its role,” although he had few other options.
“Hearing this nonsense, we say a thousand times no, no, no to the deal of the century,” he said, using a term President Trump had once used to describe a still-coalescing plan he felt that no one would want to turn down.
Maliki says the show of unity signals a new dawn for Palestinians.
“All factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, were present. They have declared their complete support and endorsed the statement made by President Mahmoud Abbas,” he stated. “This is a really good start. This shows right now that we are embarking on a totally new chapter.”
The peace plan, crafted by Trump’s son-in-law and top Middle East adviser Jared Kushner, would allow for a Palestinian state under strict conditions. It takes away East Jerusalem as the capital of this state, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the whole city. It also gives Israel full control over the settlements in the West Bank.
Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party, told The Media Line that the US proposal was in violation of international law.
“This deal, and the map that was produced [of territory to be divided under the plan], only creates a system of ghettos and enclaves, [placing the] Palestinians in an apartheid system,” he said.
In Ramallah and other cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, thousands of furious Palestinians took to the streets following the White House announcement, slamming the plan and saying it fell short of international standards.
The proposal also calls for a future Palestinian state to be demilitarized.
President Trump, who is facing impeachment hearings in the Senate, has promised $50 billion in investments and mega projects for the Palestinians. Abbas responded by saying that “Jerusalem is not for sale; our rights are not for sale,” adding that “the deal of the century will not pass.”
Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, told The Media Line that the PA will soon stop its security coordination with Israel, although this will “take time.”
He also noted with displeasure the presence in the East Room of the ambassadors to the US from three Arab nations – Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
“This is a departure from all Arab decisions on legitimacy, and a departure from the  Arab Peace Initiative, which they approved,” he said. “[These countries] said there will be no recognition or normalization with Israel before ending the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
Turkey has labeled the US plan “stillborn,” and Iran said it was “doomed to fail.” Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said an independent Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders was “the only path to a comprehensive and lasting peace”.
Ahmad expressed appreciation for the Jordanian stance.
“Jordan issued a statement that renewed its firm position, and we totally trust it. They are 100% honest and committed. The Palestinian and Jordanian positions are one and the same,” he said.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman phoned Abbas and stressed “the kingdom’s steadfast stance on the Palestinian issue and the rights of the Palestinian people,” according to reports. But Egypt, another Arab state seen as a staunch ally of Washington, urged “a careful and thorough examination of the US vision.”
The Palestinian leadership is now shifting its focus toward the Arab world, calling for an emergency meeting of the Arab League this Saturday at its headquarters in Cairo.
Yet Nasser al-Shaer, a member of Hamas and a former PA deputy prime minister, told The Media Line that the Palestinians were still counting on the international community.
“We need to build on the positions of Russia and the European Union, which see Trump’s step as unilateral and going against international legitimacy and UN resolutions.”
He believes that without support from these countries, the US proposal will find no takers in the Arab world.
The PLO’s Ahmad expressed a conviction that the renewed unity among Palestinians can be leveraged to great advantage in facing down the US plan.
“We are confident that we will succeed,” he stated, “and that Trump’s vision will end up in the trash bin.”