21 Arab parliament representatives reject deal at Amman meet

TV: Starting at UN, Abbas plans ‘diplomatic intifada’ against US peace plan

Aides close to Palestinian leader say he will brand Trump proposal illegal at UN on Tuesday, will also file new cases against Israel at The Hague

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah following the announcement by US President Donald Trump of the Mideast peace plan, January 28, 2020. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah following the announcement by US President Donald Trump of the Mideast peace plan, January 28, 2020. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is planning a “diplomatic intifada” against the United States in response to the peace plan put forth last month by President Donald Trump, Israeli TV reported on Saturday, citing associates close to the Palestinian leader.

Abbas, currently in Jordan, will make his way to New York this week where on Tuesday he is set to speak at the United Nations and present his own version of a peace plan, said to be a Palestinian state on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, Israel’s Channel 13 reported on Saturday. Abbas is also expected to denounce the US plan, the so-called “deal of the century,” and charge that it violates international law.

Abbas has adamantly rejected the plan, calling it “the slap of the century” and vowing the Palestinian people “will send it to the dustbins of history.”

The Palestinian leader is expected to be joined at the UN this week by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and the two are said to be planning a joint press conference. According to a Channel 12 report this past week, Olmert is expected “to express his opposition” to the US administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reiterate that he and Abbas nearly concluded a peace deal before Olmert left office in 2009 amid corruption allegations. Olmert served 16 months in prison for bribery convictions in 2016 and 2017.

Olmert has said that he proposed in 2008 relinquishing almost the entire West Bank to Abbas, with one-for-one land swaps, dividing Jerusalem to enable a Palestinian capital and conceding Israeli sovereignty in the Holy Basin to an international trusteeship. Abbas did not respond to the officer.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The Palestinian Authority has also proposed a UN Security Council resolution denouncing the Trump plan. The draft will likely be voted on Tuesday, in the presence of Abbas, but has virtually zero chance of being adopted due to an expected US veto. The peace plan, which was presented by Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on January 28, explicitly states that Washington will veto any attempt to condemn it at the UN.

France, Russia, China, Tunisia, Indonesia, Niger and South Africa are sure to support the resolution. Belgium, Estonia and Vietnam can also be expected to support the text. It is unclear how the remaining states on the 15-member council will vote.

If vetoed at the Security Council, the issue will be taken to the UN General Assembly, said Saleh Rafat, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Resolutions at the GA are non-binding, but cannot be vetoed, and therefore any pro-Palestinian text is guaranteed to be adopted with an overwhelming majority.

US President Donald Trump (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive for an event in the East Room of the White House at which Trump presented his Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal, January 28, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In addition, according to the Channel 13 report on Saturday, the Palestinians are planning to file a series of complaints against Israel at the International Criminal Court at the Hague and to generally drum up support against the US plan in the international arena.

The Channel 13 report said Abbas feels emboldened by the backing of the Arab League, which unanimously rejected the Trump peace plan, calling it “unfair” to Palestinians.

During an emergency meeting in Amman on Saturday of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIU), members from 21 Arab parliaments further rejected the deal and said the plan “does not represent a step towards just and comprehensive peace,” the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

During the summit, a parliamentary representative from Kuwait held a copy of the US plan and dropped it into a garbage can during his address, in a video broadcast on Al-Jazeera. The room erupted in applause.

US peace plan

Breaking with past American administrations, Trump’s 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 Gaza 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.

The plan 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.

The plan would abolish the so-called right of return for Palestinian refugees displaced by the 1948 war and their descendants, a key Palestinian demand, and one that Israel has always rejected as an attempt to wipe out the Jewish state by weight of numbers. The entire agreement would be contingent on Gaza’s Hamas rulers and other terror groups disarming, something they have always adamantly rejected.

Netanyahu immediately declared his support for the scheme. He also initially said Israel would quickly move to annex the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements with Washington’s okay — only to have the White House clarify quickly that there was no approval for immediate annexation moves.

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