Thursday, 16 July, 2020


Palestine rejects Trump's Middle East plan at UN

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas raises a poster that shows change in Palestinian territory  in an address Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council at U.N. headquarters in New York City Palestine rejects Trump's Middle East plan at UN
Bennie Garza | 13 February, 2020, 17:15

After addressing the UN Security Council, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held a joint press conference in a NY hotel suite where each called the other a man of peace.

"We will not accept this plan", Abbas told the UN Security Council, calling Trump's proposed maps of Palestinian territory "Swiss cheese".

A February 5-8 poll conducted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 94% of Palestinians reject the plan, which Trump has called the "Deal of the Century".

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, gave an update on reaction to the Trump plan, noting opposition from Abbas, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The Palestinians have sought to rally worldwide support against the plan, which Trump unveiled alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has since moved forward on plans to annex vast parts of the West Bank. He said they were "very, very close" to agreement. "No, this deal is not just", Abbas said.

US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft described the Trump plan as an opening bid to stimulate discussion, not a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum.

Palestinians have outright rejected the plan, fearing it will recognize Israeli claims to parts of the West Bank that they want for their future state of Palestine.

In an impassioned 35-minute address to a packed Security Council chamber, Abbas expressed his anger at the land proposed for a future Palestinian state, holding up a map and saying it looked like "Swiss cheese".

The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem - areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war - for an independent state and the removal of numerous more than 700,000 Israeli settlers from these areas.

Speaking at an election rally in the Israeli town of Bat Yam, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the criticism Trump's plan garnered at the UNSC meeting.

Meanwhile, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, accused Abbas of being unrealistic.

"He will never be a partner for true peace". "We are not terrorists". "We are not terrorists". This goal can only be achieved through realizing the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, he said. "I'm fully ready to resume negotiations where we left off" in 2008, with the involvement of the Quartet - the United Nations, the USA, the European Union and Russian Federation - on the basis of the 1967 borders, he said.

"These negotiations will take place", Olmert said.

Olmert noted that Abbas is the "only partner in the Palestinian community that represents the Palestinian people and has manifested that he is prepared to negotiate".

In December 2017, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, sparking outrage among Palestinians and much of the Arab world, as well as surprising United States allies.

Introduced by Indonesia and Tunisia, the resolution risked not having nine out of 15 votes in its favour, the minimum required for adoption provided there is no veto by a permanent member.

"There is no Palestinian leadership that is more pragmatic, more moderate more dovish than Abbas", he said.

"Today is the time to hear proposals on how to move the process forward", said Nickolay Mladenov, "and to find our way back to a mutually agreed mediation framework that ensures meaningful negotiations can restart".

Netanyahu has hailed Trump's plan, under which Israel would maintain sovereignty up to the Jordanian border even if there is a Palestinian state.

His remarks came as countless Palestinians from various parts of the West Bank collected in Ramallah to voice their assistance for their management's position and to oppose once again Trump's plan.

The poll, the first conducted since the release of the Trump plan last month, was carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, according to the AP.

Olmert held a series of peace talks with Abbas in 2008, when he became Israeli prime minister.

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