Palestinians call on world to reject Trump peace plan

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (REUTERS file photo)
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Updated 28 January 2020

Palestinians call on world to reject Trump peace plan

  • The US proposal may also seek to give Israel the green light to annex the Jordan Valley, a key territory that constitutes around 30 percent of the West Bank

RAMALLAH: The Palestinians on Monday urged world powers to reject Donald Trump’s peace plan, which they said President Mahmud Abbas had refused to discuss with his US counterpart despite several outreaches.
Trump is due to unveil his proposal for Middle East peace this week in Washington, where he is scheduled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz.
Palestinian leaders, who have not been invited to the White House, have already rejected the US initiative and insist that Trump’s administration has forfeited its role as an honest broker in the conflict due to what they say is the president’s pro-Israel bias.
“We call on the international community to not be partners in this (plan) because it contravenes international law,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh told journalists ahead of a weekly cabinet meeting.
The details of Trump’s initiative, which has been in the works since 2017, are not yet public.
But his administration has already recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which the Jewish state captured from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and stopped referring to the West Bank as “occupied” territory.
It also no longer considers Israeli settlements there as inconsistent with international law and most analysts expect his proposal to reaffirm his administration’s positions.
Trump also broke with decades of international consensus that the fate of Jerusalem should be negotiated between the parties when he recognized the disputed city as Israel’s capital in December 2017.
He is releasing the plan as he faces impeachment hearings over abuse of office and while Netanyahu battles serious corruption charges during a neck-and-neck election against Gantz.
“This a plan to protect Trump from impeachment and protect Netanyahu from prison. It is not a Middle East peace plan,” Shtayyeh told a Cabinet meeting.
Previously released parts of the Trump initiative purport to offer the Palestinians substantial economic incentives.

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US President Donald Trump is due to unveil his proposal for Middle East peace this week in Washington, where he is scheduled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz.

“The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale,” Shtayyeh said. “This plan gives Israel sovereignty over Palestinian territory.”
Three Palestinian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP on Monday that Trump had made several attempts to discuss the plan with Abbas in recent weeks, but the Palestinian president had rejected those outreaches.
“There will be no discussion with the Americans until they recognize the two-state solution,” one senior official said.
A spokesperson for the American Embassy in Jerusalem was not immediately available for comment.
Some have speculated that the US proposal could pull back from supporting the creation of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, the common definition of the two-state solution.
The US proposal may also seek to give Israel the green light to annex the Jordan Valley, a key territory that constitutes around 30 percent of the West Bank.
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri toured the Jordan Valley Monday, saying they were taking steps toward the move — a central election promise of right winger Netanyahu.
“As interior minister I’d like to tell you, we’ve started to prepare for an annexation — we are getting the paper-work ready,” Deri said in a statement.
In Gaza on Monday a few hundred Palestinians protested against the Trump plan, which Palestinians ironically call the “Deal of the Century.”
Further protests were expected on Wednesday, when the plan is expected to be public.


Iranian hard-liners in parliament reject president’s nominee

Updated 16 min 3 sec ago

Iranian hard-liners in parliament reject president’s nominee

  • According to the parliament’s website, lawmakers rejected Hossein Modares Khiabani’s nomination for minister of trade and industries
  • Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the vote was 140-104 against the nominee

TEHRAN, Iran: Iranian hard-liners in parliament on Wednesday voted against President Hassan Rouhani’s nominee for trade minister in the first showdown between the rival camps since the house resumed work in May despite the struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the parliament’s website, lawmakers rejected Hossein Modares Khiabani’s nomination for minister of trade and industries.
Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the vote was 140-104 against the nominee. There were 254 lawmakers at the session and 10 abstained. The parliament has 290 seats.
The vote marked the first serious confrontation between the newly elected house, dominated by conservatives and the bloc of supporters of the relatively moderate Rouhani. Under the law, Rouhani must introduce new nominees to his Cabinet in the next three months.
Rouhani in May dismissed the trade and industry minister at the time, Reza Rahmani, as Iran faced an unprecedented economic downturn amid intense pressure from the United States after President Donald Trump pulled America out of Iran’s nuclear with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country. Khiabani, 52, had since been the acting trade minister.
Iran is also grappling with the largest and deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus in the Middle East, with more than 331,000 confirmed cases and at least 18,800 deaths.