Hamas tells Nikki Haley: Your peace plan is ‘worthless’
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Hamas tells Nikki Haley: Your peace plan is ‘worthless’

After US diplomat says proposal nearing completion, Gaza-based terror groups vow to thwart American efforts

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist terror movement Hamas, take part in a rally marking three years since Operation Protective Edge, on July 20, 2017, in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)
Members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist terror movement Hamas, take part in a rally marking three years since Operation Protective Edge, on July 20, 2017, in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)

The Palestinians won’t accept the US administration’s yet-to-be-announced Middle East peace plan, the Hamas terror movement said on Friday.

“The American announcement about a plan that would be presented soon is worthless,” said Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri.

He was responding to US Ambassador Nikki Haley, who said on Thursday that the US administration was nearly finished drafting its Middle East peace plan, which some refer to as the “deal of the century.”

“I think they’re finishing it up,” Haley said during a question-and-answer session at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

US envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are “still going back and forth,” she added. “They’re coming up with a plan. It won’t be loved by either side, and it won’t be hated by either side.”

Nikki Haley speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Palestine, Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at United Nations headquarters, with negotiators Jared Kushner, left, and Jason Greenblatt, right, behind her. (AP/Mary Altaffer)

Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesperson, retorted: “The Palestinian people reject the plan and won’t allow it to pass.”

Hamas and several Palestinian factions have vowed to do their utmost to thwart the plan, dubbing it a “conspiracy designed to eliminate the Palestinian cause and national rights.”

On Friday, hundreds of Hamas supporters staged rallies in Al Bureij and Al Nusseirat refugee camps in the Gaza Strip in protest against the US administration’s policy towards the Palestinians, specifically President Donald Trump’s decision last December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan, who attended the rallies, warned Israel not to “pursue its aggression on Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque following Trump’s announcement.”

Radwan added: “We warn the occupation against defiling the Al-Aqsa Mosque and changing the demography, heritage and civilization in the city.”

These changes, he said, “Won’t change the historical and political facts, because Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians. Both parts of Jerusalem, east and west, are Palestinian.”

Radwan said that the protests that have swept the West Bank and Gaza Strip since Trump’s announcement were designed to send him a message that “Jerusalem is the united capital of Palestine.”

Trump’s decisions are nothing but “hallucination from a mad man,” the Hamas official added.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri (AP/Hatem Moussa)

Sheikh Mohammed Salim, who delivered the Friday sermon during prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, told thousands of worshippers that Trump’s peace plan would have “severe repercussions” on the Palestinians.

The “deal of the century,” he said, seeks to exclude Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and disconnect the Palestinians from the land, history and Islam.

The preacher warned “all oppressive countries not to tamper with the fate of Muslims or assault their holy sites. He also warned against what he claimed were attempts to “forge” the history of the Muslims.

Another terror group in the Gaza Strip, the Al Mujahidin Movement, said in response to Nikki Haley’s statement that the Palestinians won’t accept the US administration’s “suspicious” plan.

“All the Zionist-American schemes and conspiracies will be foiled by the Palestinian resistance,” the group said. “Nikki Haley’s remarks will only make us stick stronger to our national rights.”

The Palestinian Authority has also rejected the US peace plan, the details of which have not been revealed yet.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations Security Council on February 20, 2018 in New York (AFP/Timothy A. Clary)

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and several top Palestinian officials have repeatedly denounced the US administration for being “biased” in favor of Israel. They insist that the Trump administration can no longer play the role of honest broker in any peace process between the Palestinians and Israel.

On Thursday, Nabil Sha’ath, a senior advisor to Abbas, said that the Trump plan was doomed to failure because of US “bias” in favor of Israel.

“The Americans can’t sell an agreement between two parties when they are fully biased in favor of one side,” Shaath explained, accusing Trump of “donating” Jerusalem to Israel.

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