Arab League to hold urgent meeting on Trump peace plan
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Arab League to hold urgent meeting on Trump peace plan

Cairo-based body confirms Saturday gathering after it was requested by Palestinian envoy to Egypt to talk about ‘ways to confront’ plan

Illustrative: An extraordinary session of the Arab League foreign ministers meets to discuss the situation in the Palestinian territories at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, April 21, 2019. (Amr Nabil/AP)
Illustrative: An extraordinary session of the Arab League foreign ministers meets to discuss the situation in the Palestinian territories at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, April 21, 2019. (Amr Nabil/AP)

The Arab League said it will convene an urgent meeting on Saturday in response to US President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked Arab nations to come together against the initiative.

Hossam Zaki, the pan-Arab body’s deputy secretary, told reporters Tuesday that Abbas would attend the meeting in Cairo to discuss the “so-called Deal of the Century.”

Trump was expected to unveil the plan Tuesday at an event at the White House alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas earlier asked the body to convene to discuss ways to oppose the plan.

“The State of Palestine officially asked for an exceptional meeting of the Arab League on the ministerial level, with the attendance [Palestinian Authority] President Mahmoud Abbas…, to talk about ways to confront what is known as ‘the deal of the century,'” Diab al-Louh, the Palestinian ambassador to Egypt, said in a statement, using a cynical expression to refer to the US plan.

Abbas has vowed to reject any American peace plan and has said the Palestinians have recently cut off all contacts with the US, other than with American security officials as a part of their commitment “to fight terrorism.”

The Palestinians have called for the establishment of a Palestinian state along 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and a “just solution” to the refugee issue.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas speaks during the weekly PA cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 29, 2019. (Majdi Mohammed/Pool/AFP)

Louh stated that “it comes at a very important moment that requires a united Arab position.”

The grand imam of Egypt’s prestigious Al-Azhar mosque and university lambasted the plan at a conference in Cairo in the presence of many of the Sunni world’s leading religious scholars.

“Our identity as Arabs and Muslims is over… I felt totally ashamed watching Trump with the Israeli leader,” Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb said.

“They’re the ones planning, talking, controlling and solving problems for us and there’s no Arab or Muslim,” Tayeb added.

While Arab states have consistently called for the two-state solution, including the establishment of a Palestinian state, many of them maintain close relations with the US and may try to avoid rejecting the plan out of hand.

Channel 12, citing unnamed Israeli sources, reported on Thursday that the Trump administration’s plan calls for Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and 100-plus settlements, as well as the establishment of a Palestinian state, on condition that the Hamas terror group gives up its weapons and the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, with Jerusalem as its capital.

The report also said that the US plan would grant Israel full security control in the Jordan Valley, and provide for some minor land swaps and a possible absorption of some Palestinian refugees in Israel; it also said if Israel accepts the plan and the Palestinians reject it, Israel would have US support to begin annexing settlements unilaterally.

Since late 2017, the Trump administration has made several moves seen as marginalizing the Palestinians: recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians and the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, and closing the PLO representative office in Washington.

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