Published On: Thu, Jan 23rd, 2020

‘Deal of the Century’: Abbas warns Trump ‘not to cross red lines’

‘Deal of the Century’: Abbas warns Trump ‘not to cross red lines’

Palestinian president warns against plans to annex illegal settlements as Israeli leaders are invited to White House next Tuesday to discuss controversial deal

MEE staff Thu, 01/23/2020 – 20:35

Palestinian protesters burn cutouts of Trump, Pompeo and Netanyahu during demonstration against ‘Deal of the Century’ (AFP/File photo)

US President Donald Trump has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his challenger in a forthcoming election, Benny Gantz, to the White House next week to discuss his controversial Middle East peace plan dubbed the “Deal of the Century”.

Israeli media reported on Thursday that according to preliminary plans, Israel would claim sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and immediately annex of all but 15 illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, as well as the land linking them.

Jerusalem would be declared the capital of Israel, while the creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state would be agreed to at a later time.

No details of the package were released on Thursday, and it was not clear whether the Trump administration would present a document of the “deal” after the meetings, which are schedule for Tuesday, 28 January.

“Reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative,” Trump tweeted on Thursday.

Still, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that such a plan would result in the dissolution of the Palestinian government, requiring Israel “to assume its full responsibilities as an occupying power”. 

“We warn Israel and the American administration against crossing the red lines,” Abbas said in a statement. 

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Middle East Eye’s “Done Deal” series examines how many of the expected elements of US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” reflect a reality that already exists on the ground.

It looks at how Palestinian territory has already been effectively annexed, why refugees have no realistic prospect of ever returning to their homeland, how the Old City of Jerusalem is under Israeli rule, how financial threats and incentives are used to undermine Palestinian opposition to the status quo, and how Gaza is kept under a state of permanent siege.

Ayman Odeh, leader of the Knesset’s Joint List of Palestinian parties, also flatly rejected details of the plan, Haaretz reported. 

Odeh said the Israeli government has long understood the path to peace, but instead prefers “settlements in the West Bank over ending the occupation and providing a future of peace to our children.”    

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“A prime minister that is charged with corruption and a president that is in the midst of an impeachment trial are trying to save one another while carrying out a dangerous political move that would subject the Palestinian people living in the [occupied territories] to Israeli military control for years to come,” Odeh said. 

The Palestinian leadership has repeatedly boycotted any participation in the Trump administration’s Middle East plan, refusing to meet with US officials about the deal, which it has slammed as impossibly biased.

The scheme, headed by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, was initially launched in June 2019, but the highly anticipated political portion of the plan has been continuously postponed

Trump told an audience of conservative Jewish supporters in December he had been advised that achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be the hardest task he faced as president, but that he and Kushner were trying.

“If Jared Kushner can’t do it, it can’t be done,” Trump said then.

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