Palestinian officials oppose Trump peace plan: “This plan will not go into effect because the Palestinian leadership will not let it, even if there is support from some of the Arab countries. First find a solution to the Palestinian issue, and afterwards Israel can normalize its relations with whatever country it wants.”
By Daniel Siryoti
Senior Palestinian Authority officials are demanding that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas clarify U.S. President Donald Trump’s reported plan to focus on regional peace between Arab countries and Israel before addressing the Palestinian issue, as Israel Hayom reported Thursday.
During his visit to Bethlehem on Tuesday, Trump told Abbas he was interested in launching a regional peace plan based on the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative that would normalize relations between Israel and moderate Arab countries. As they push for the new plan, the Americans will also press for Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations on core issues.
The Saudi (or Arab) Peace Initiative, as it was first presented by the late King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, requires Israel to agree to retreat to pre-1967 borders in exchange for normalized relations with dozens of Arab and Muslim countries. The initiative also calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and a “fair” solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, including their right of return. Trump even emphasized in his meeting with Abbas in Bethlehem that the dramatic initiative he wishes to pursue has already, in principle, won the support of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and some Persian Gulf states.
Abbas told Trump that the Palestinians will oppose any state plan that does not include a settlement or permanent solution to the Palestinian issue, though a senior official in Ramallah said that Abbas also understands Trump is interested in thinking outside of the box, as every initiative to renew the peace process to date has been a failure.
Abbas met on Thursday with the Palestinian leadership in the Muqata compound, the seat of the Palestinian Authority’s government in Ramallah, and briefed the officials about his meeting with U.S. Special Representative for International Affairs Jason Greenblatt. Abbas said he demanded that Washington intervene and press Israel to bring about an end to the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, launched in a number of Israeli prisons about six weeks ago.
Although Abbas did not reveal the details of his meeting with Trump, a senior official in Ramallah told Israel Hayom that Abbas is expected to meet Friday with Fatah and Palestinian Liberation Organization leaders and brief them on the topic.
A senior PLO official told Israel Hayom that the Palestinian leadership was expected to categorically oppose any regional state process that comes about at the expense of the Palestinian issue.
Another senior PLO official claimed that “whoever leaked these things [about Trump’s plan] apparently wanted to spin them. This plan will not go into effect because the Palestinian leadership will not let it, even if there is support from some of the Arab countries. First find a solution to the Palestinian issue, and afterwards Israel can normalize its relations with whatever country it wants.”
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