Palestinians launch bid to foil 'deal of the century'

Fatah urges Hamas to join effort against Trump's plan.

April 29, 2019 03:46
3 minute read.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)


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The Palestinian leadership will soon dispatch delegations to several countries as part of its effort to rally support for its opposition to US President Donald Trump’s upcoming plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the “deal of the century.”

Palestinian officials in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that the delegations will also brief world leaders on the measures the Palestinian leadership intends to take in response to Trump’s plan and Israeli “violations” of agreements signed with the Palestinians.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other officials in Ramallah have hinted that the measures would include revoking Palestinian recognition of Israel and suspending security coordination with the IDF in the West Bank.

PLO and Fatah institutions have recommended “revising” all ties with Israel in response to Israel’s “failure to implement all agreements” signed with the Palestinians, including the 1993 Oslo Accords. They also recommended that the PA leadership halt the security coordination and withdraw the PLO’s recognition of Israel.

In 1993, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, in a letter to former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, wrote that the PLO “recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.”

“We will launch an international campaign to foil Trump’s deal of the century,” a PLO official in Ramallah told the Post. “We want the world to know that this is a dangerous conspiracy to liquidate our cause and national rights.”

PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh again attacked Trump’s unseen plan and said it was aimed at “blackmailing” the Palestinians.

“Those who believe that the Palestinians could be blackmailed are mistaken,” Shtayyeh said during a visit to Nablus. “We say no and 1,000 no’s to any initiative that does not meet the minimum demands of the Palestinian people.”

Shtayyeh said that the “blackmail” included a “financial war” that is being waged against the Palestinians. He pointed out that Israel has already deducted NIS 502 million from tax and tariff funds it collects on behalf of the Palestinians because of payments made by the PA government to families of security prisoners and “martyrs.” As a result of Israel’s measures, he said, Palestinian public employees have been receiving half of their salaries in the past three months.

Meanwhile, senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub on Sunday urged Hamas to join efforts to thwart Trump’s “deal of the century.” Hamas, he said, “needs to take practical steps, and not emotional rhetoric, to establish a national front to fortify our national project, which is based on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state – with Jerusalem as its capital – on the 1967 borders, and the return of Palestinian refugees.”

Rajoub said that Palestinian unity was needed to confront Trump’s plan, “which aims to obliterate our national cause and transform it from a political cause to a humanitarian issue.”

Rajoub’s remarks came in response to statements by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who, on Saturday reiterated his movement’s rejection of the “deal of the century.” Haniyeh, who was speaking during a meeting of various Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to discuss ways of foiling Trump’s upcoming plan, claimed that the plan was already being implemented on the ground. The plan, Haniyeh said, is aimed at “redrawing the geopolitical map of the region.”

The Hamas leader said that his movement was prepared to hold “urgent talks with Fatah and President Mahmoud Abbas to achieve Palestinian reconciliation and restore national unity.”

Nafez Azzam, a senior Islamic Jihad official who attended the meeting in the Gaza Strip, said that Trump’s plan was “dangerous” for the Arabs. “It’s the duty of the Arabs to support the Palestinians in rejecting the deal of the century,” he said. He also warned the Arabs against normalizing their relations with Israel.

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