Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before the start of the 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia April 15, 2018.
(photo credit: HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS)
The US-led economic workshop in Bahrain aims to pave the way for the establishment of a Palestinian “emirate” in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Palestinian protests against the Bahrain workshop continued in different parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the second consecutive day. Organized by the ruling Fatah faction and several Palestinian groups, the protests are expected to continue on Wednesday.
Deputy Fatah chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul told protesters in Nablus that the Arabs participating in the workshop have “stabbed” the Palestinians in the back. “Our message to those who we call our [Arab] brothers: “Your stabs in our back have increased. Stop tampering with our cause,” he said.
The Palestinians, he added, “Will continue to consider the US and Israel as our enemy.”
Speaking hours before the launching of the workshop in Manama, Bahrain, Abu Rudaineh said that the “emirate” would be expanded and separated from the West Bank.
Palestinian officials have previously claimed that US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the Deal of the Century, aims to create a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.
Some officials have gone as far as accusing Hamas of being in collusion with the US and Israel to consolidate the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
At the Bahrain workshop, the US administration is expected to unveil the economic portion of the Deal of the Century.
Abu Rudaineh further claimed that the Bahrain workshop was aimed at paving the way for the “Judaization” of Jerusalem, but did not elaborate.
“Any plan that ignores Palestinian legitimacy is doomed to fail,” he said. “Any unilateral measures that bypass international and Arab legitimacy will reach a dead end. Palestine did not entrust anyone to speak on its behalf.”
Abu Rudaineh also lashed out at Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who told the Al-Jazeera network that “if there is ever a deal, it’s not going to be along the lines of the Arab peace initiative.”
Kushner, who was speaking before his departure for the Bahrain economic conference, said that any deal “will be somewhere between the Arab peace initiative and between the Israeli position.”
The Arab Peace Initiative, which was first endorsed by the Arab League in 2002, is a 10-sentence proposal for an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict. It calls for normalizing relations between the Arab states and Israel in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, including east Jerusalem, and a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee issue on the basis of United Nations Resolution 194.
“The Arab Peace Initiative endorsed by Arab and Islamic summits, and which is part of UN Resolution 1515, is a red line,” Abu Rudaineh cautioned. He was referring to the 2003 UN Security Council resolution that envisages the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2005 in return for security guarantees for Israel.
“Neither Kushner nor anyone else can reformulate the Arab Peace Initiative on behalf of the Arab and Islamic summits,” the PA spokesman stressed. “Peace can’t be achieved at any cost. In his recent speeches in Mecca, President Mahmoud Abbas exposed the goal of the Deal of the Century: liquidating the Palestinian national cause.”
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat also criticized Kushner’s statements concerning the Arab Peace Initiative.
“Of course Kushner is not committed to the Arab Peace Initiative because he’s committed to the initiative of the Israeli colonial settlement councils,” he said. “I hope that those who were not able to say no to Kushner, the US president’s son-in-law, will use the skills of hearing and reading. “Any plan that includes elements of ending the Palestinian cause and cancelling the existence of its people is not negotiable and is rejected by the Palestinians.”
Wasel Abu Yusef, member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that Kushner’s statements “clarify the foundations and mechanisms of the so-called Deal of the Century, which bypasses the rights of the Palestinian people and attempts to impose normalization [with Israel] on the Arab countries before ending the occupation.”
Abu Yusef told the PA’s official news agency Wafa that Kushner’s statements were a “clear message to all the Arab states participating in the Bahrain workshop there is an overriding of all what’s related to the resolutions of international legitimacy and law, the positions of the Arabs and the decisions of the Arab summits and Arab League foreign ministers, which have always affirmed that the Palestinian cause if the central cause of all Arabs.”
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