Hamas to join Palestinian leadership meeting against Trump plan – officials

Administration peace proposal, set to be unveiled Tuesday, has been described as anti-Palestinian by senior officials in West Bank and Gaza

Yahya Sinwar (right), the Hamas terror group's leader in the Gaza Strip, sits with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh (center), as they meet the Head of the Central Elections Commission, Hanna Nasser, in Gaza City, on October 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Yahya Sinwar (right), the Hamas terror group's leader in the Gaza Strip, sits with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh (center), as they meet the Head of the Central Elections Commission, Hanna Nasser, in Gaza City, on October 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah will join forces Tuesday in a rare meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah against US President Donald Trump’s long-awaited peace plan, Palestinian officials said.

“We invited the Hamas movement to attend the emergency meeting of the leadership and they will take part in the meeting,” senior Palestinian official Azzam al-Ahmed said.

Nasser al-Din al-Shaar, who is considered close to Hamas, confirmed he would attend the meeting, which all Palestinian factions were invited to.

“The meeting will discuss the position that must be taken [against] Trump’s plan,” Shaar said.

Britain’s Prince Charles meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem on January 24, 2020. (HAZEM BADER / POOL / AFP)

The Islamist Hamas, which rules Gaza, has been at odds with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement for years, with Hamas representatives rarely taking part in meetings of the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership.

Ayman Daraghmeh, a former lawmaker from the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, said he believed the US plan has united the different Palestinian factions.

“It has created an atmosphere of unity,” he told The Times of Israel.

Later on Tuesday, Trump is set to unveil a peace plan he hoped would solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians reject the secret plan, accusing Trump of pro-Israel bias, and a series of protests are planned in both the West Bank and Gaza on Tuesday and Wednesday. Abbas indicated his approval for activists’ calls for a day of rage, instructing his security forces not to intervene in protests, Israeli news site Ynet reported.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said earlier this week that the terror group rejects “the deal of the century conspiracy,” pledging that it “will not pass” and could lead the Palestinians to a “new phase in their struggle” against Israel.

The proposal is shaping up to be the most pro-Israel ever published by an American administration, and is reported to include an endorsement of Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem and significant parts of the West Bank. While reliable information about the plan’s details remain elusive, recent reports indicate that it would offer a redrawn border between Israel and the West Bank that would incorporate large settlements into Israel as well as “some form” of Israeli security control over the disputed territory.

According to The Washington Post, the plan will also initially offer Palestinians limited autonomy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, eventually leading up to “conditional sovereignty,” or limited statehood.

The Palestinians have harshly condemned the proposal even before its release, with the PA urging Arab ambassadors in the US not to attend its unveiling. Channel 12 news on Monday reported that Abbas, who reportedly refused to take a phone call from Trump, called the US president “a dog, son of a dog” in a meeting with Fatah officials. The PA denied he said this.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said on Sunday the Palestinians were discussing “practical steps with the Arab brothers” to respond to the announcement of the US plan, according to the PA Foreign Ministry’s site.

“Trump’s plan is the plot of the century to liquidate the Palestinian cause,” the Palestinian foreign ministry said in a statement sent to AFP on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh suggested that the Palestinians could dissolve the PA in response to the plan.

Trump said Monday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by his side in the White House, that without the Palestinians “we don’t do the deal.”

Trump predicted that the Palestinians will “ultimately” come round to giving their support.

“They probably won’t want it initially. I think in the end they will,” he said. “I think in the end they’re going to want it. It’s very good for them. In fact, it’s overly good to them. So we’ll see what happens. Now without them, we don’t do the deal. And that’s okay.”

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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