The Palestinian Authority prime minister lashed out Sunday at US President Donald Trump’s proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying it would be “buried very soon.”
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Mohammad Shtayyeh said the US plan was “no more than a memo of understanding between [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and Trump.”
Shtayyeh criticized the fact that the proposal would leave a future Palestinian state fragmented and with “no sovereignty,” allowing Israel to annex large parts of the West Bank. He urged other countries to reject the Trump proposal while maintaining that Palestinians “are open to serious negotiations.”
Shtayyeh suggested the Palestinians would seek to increase pressure on Israel through international organizations, citing the recent release by the UN human rights office of a list of more than 100 companies that operate in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Referring to the upcoming Israeli election on March 2, Shtayyeh said the difference between Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz and Netanyahu was “not more than the difference between Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola.”
Breaking with past American administrations, the US plan announced late last month 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 coastal enclave, 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.
Israel has welcomed the plan while the Palestinians have angrily rejected it.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas last week stressed he would not consider the US plan as the basis for talks. The PA president told the UN Security Council the plan “transforms our homeland into fragmented residential encampments” and described the territories it envisions for a future state of Palestine as “Swiss cheese.”