PA President Mahmoud Abbas with US presidential adviser Jared Kushner and lead negotiator Jason Greenblatt in Ramallah.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday scoffed at US presidential adviser Jared Kushner’s announcement that the administration’s plan for peace in the Middle East – also known as the “Deal of the Century” – would be published after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which ends in June.
The PA noted that the timing of the announcement of the plan will coincide with Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan.
“We don’t want Kushner’s Eid al-Fitr gift because it does not offer the Palestinians an independent and sovereign state,” said a PA official in Ramallah.
He said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was facing pressure from several Palestinian officials to carry out previous decisions to suspend all relations with Israel to protest the policies of the Israeli government and US administration.
“Kushner has said that he’s busy preparing a gift for the Palestinian people on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr,” the PA Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “[US President Donald] Trump’s team is racing to make statements about the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ so as to create suspense and make noises.”
The PA expressed doubt that the US plan would be announced in June and said that everyone “remembers the conflicting dates announced by the US administration to launch the ‘Deal of the Century.’”
The Trump team, the PA statement claimed, “coordinated this plan with the Israeli side, specifically with [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu during his frequent visits to Washington and dozens of meetings with him. The Trump team listened attentively to Netanyahu’s conditions and reservations and took them into consideration while drafting the plan in order to ensure that the Israeli premier agrees and that it doesn’t contradict with his political positions.”
The PA further claimed that the plan has been “repeatedly modified” to appease Netanyahu. The Trump administration, it added, has already implemented the vast majority of the political aspect of the deal, particularly when it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, shut the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington, DC, and halted US financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).
The Trump administration will complete the political part of its plan by encouraging the establishment of a separate Palestinian entity in the Gaza Strip, the PA ministry said. “The US administration is living in an illusion if it thinks that money could buy the Palestinians’ consent to sell their homeland or silence towards the elimination of their rights,” it stressed.
Nabil Sha’ath, international affairs adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, on Thursday again attacked Trump’s unseen plan, dubbing it a “conspiracy and crime to liquidate the Palestinian cause.” Sha’ath appealed to the international community to reject the deal and said that the Palestinians will continue their diplomatic efforts in the international arena – including Russia, China, India, Britain and France – to rally support for Palestinian rejection of the plan and US policies in the Middle East.
In the context of the Palestinian campaign to thwart Trump’s plan, Abbas is scheduled to attend an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo in the coming days to win Arab backing for his position toward the plan.
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