Palestinians denounce Trump's Mid-East peace plan

The release of a US peace plan aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was met with protests and clashes in the West Bank, as Palestinians rejected what they saw as a lopsided proposal heavily favouring Israel.
Palestinians taking part in a demonstration in the West Bank city of Nablus, on Jan 28, 2020.
Palestinians taking part in a demonstration in the West Bank city of Nablus, on Jan 28, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

Palestinians have rejected US President Donald Trump's peace proposals, but may struggle to push back if Israel launches the plan on the ground by annexing settlements and key parts of the West Bank.

Mr Trump's initiative grants Israel full control of Jerusalem and allows it to annex the Jordan Valley - a strategic area of the West Bank - as well as the settlements that dot the Palestinian territory.

In exchange, the Palestinians are being offered a form of statehood in what remains of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the prospect of billions of dollars in aid and investment.

Palestinians across the political spectrum have condemned the plan. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas mocked what Mr Trump has called the "deal of the century", describing it as the "slap of the century".

Mr Abbas, speaking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said: "Jerusalem is not for sale, our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain; and your deal, the conspiracy, will not pass."

Saudi Arabia and other regional players said, however, they would study the proposals, withholding immediate criticism. The United Arab Emirates went further by calling the plan an important starting point for peace talks. Turkey, a strong advocate of the Palestinian cause, condemned the plan.

The European Union is split over how tough it should respond if Israel goes ahead with annexation, diplomats said.

Ahead of a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that no Middle East peace plan was perfect, but the one put forward by Mr Trump had the merit of being a two-state solution and should be considered by Palestinian leaders.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2020, with the headline 'Palestinians denounce Trump's Mid-East peace plan'. Print Edition | Subscribe