Fifty former European leaders and foreign ministers have signed an open letter expressing “grave concern” over US President Donald Trump’s plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The letter, published in The Guardian on Thursday, criticized the plan for allowing Israeli annexation of settlements and creating a situation it said was tantamount to “apartheid.”
“The plan contradicts internationally agreed parameters for the Middle East peace process, relevant UN resolutions, including security council resolution 2334, and the most fundamental principles of international law. Instead of promoting peace, it risks fueling the conflict – at the expense of Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike, and with grave implications for Jordan and the wider region,” it said.
“The plan allows for annexation of large and vital parts of the occupied Palestinian territory and legitimizes and encourages illegal Israeli settlement activity. It recognizes only one side’s claims to Jerusalem and offers no just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees. It projects a future Palestinian ‘state’ without control and sovereignty over its fragmented territory. The map featured in the plan proposes Palestinian enclaves under permanent Israeli military control, which evoke chilling associations with South Africa’s bantustans.”
It described the plan as the “formalization of the current reality in the occupied Palestinian territory, in which two peoples are living side by side without equal rights. Such an outcome has characteristics similar to apartheid – a term we don’t use lightly.”
Among the signatories to the letter were former foreign minister and vice-chancellor of Germany Sigmar Gabriel; Robert Serry, former UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process; former UK foreign secretary Jack Straw; former NATO secretary-generals Javier Solana and Willy Claes; former Swedish prime minister Ingvar Carlsson; former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland; former Irish prime minister John Bruton.
The US peace plan, unveiled in late January, has been utterly rejected by Palestinian Authority leadership and welcomed by Israel.
The plan envisions the creation of a Palestinian state in about 70 percent of the West Bank, a small handful of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, most of the Gaza Strip and some areas of southern Israel — if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, disarm Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, and fulfill other conditions.
It also allows Israel to annex settlements, grants the Jewish state sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and overriding security control west of the Jordan River, and bars Palestinian refugees from settling in Israel.
Earlier this month, PA President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN the plan “transforms our homeland into fragmented residential encampments” and described the territories it envisions for a future state of Palestine as “Swiss cheese.”
He said it “carries within it dictates, reinforcement of the occupation, annexation by military force and anchoring of an apartheid system.”