Abbas: Palestinian state in Trump’s plan is ‘like Swiss cheese’

Danon says Abbas would go to Jerusalem, not New York, if he really wanted to negotiate peace.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York, U.S., February 11, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York, U.S., February 11, 2020.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas unequivocally rejected the Trump administration’s peace plan in the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
“This plan should not be considered an international reference for negotiations. It is an Israeli-American preemptive plan to put an end to the question of Palestine,” he argued.
Abbas said of the plan allowing for a demilitarized Palestinian state on 70% of the West Bank: “This plan violates international legitimacy… It annuls the legitimacy of Palestinian rights, our right to self-determination, freedom and independence of our own state.”
The Palestinian Authority delayed their vote on a UNSC resolution against the US plan, but the meeting continued as scheduled. The delay came amid US pressure to soften the language of the resolution towards the US and Israel. There has been speculation that the delay was a way of pulling the resolution because it lacked the requisite support of nine members for passage, as several countries were expected to abstain. Even if it had passed, the US had been expected to veto the original text put forward last week by UNSC members Tunisia and Indonesia.
In his address, Abbas referred to the part of the plan allowing Israel to annex 30% of the West Bank, saying: “It legitimized what is illegal, settlements and confiscation of land and annexation of Palestinian land.”
The plan is “the entrenchment of occupation and confiscation of occupying force by military regime… strengthening the apartheid regime,” he stated.
Abbas called the map in US President Donald Trump’s plan “like Swiss cheese,” referring to Israeli enclaves within the Palestinian state and vice-versa.
The PA president also lamented that according to the plan, “Jerusalem is no longer under the sovereignty of the state of Palestine,” although it never was and such a state never existed.
“Jerusalem is occupied land. Who has the right to give this as a gift to one state or another? We came before you,” Abbas said.
Abbas also held up a series of maps commonly used by anti-Israel groups to claim Israel has stolen land, which falsely claims the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate were a Palestinian state and that Israel is built on land that belonged to the state that did not exist.
As violence against Israelis roiled the West Bank and Jerusalem, Abbas commended those who “took to the streets by thousands and hundreds of thousands in the West Bank and Gaza, although it’s freezing outside.”
Abbas argued that the problem is not with Trump, but the “terrible advice” that he has received. He rejected the criticism of the US president's special adviser, Jared Kushner, who he called “the son-in-law,” for saying the Palestinians have missed opportunity after opportunity for peace.
The PA president also called for the Palestinians and Israelis to be allowed to reach peace on their own, rather than it be imposed from the outside.
“We have reached peace without the intervention of anyone, in Oslo. We were willing to commit to that agreement, until we reach a solution. However, they killed [former prime minister Yitzhak] Rabin,” Abbas said. He implied Rabin’s death was the reason the accords did not bring about peace, though Palestinian terrorists bombed 10 Israeli buses, killing 38 people, between when the Oslo Accords were signed and when Rabin was assassinated.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon also called for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, saying that Abbas is being disingenuous when he says he wants peace.
“If Abbas was truly interested in peace, he wouldn’t be here, he would be in Jerusalem,” Danon said, referring to former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat speaking in the Knesset before signing a peace treaty with Israel.
Abbas should “use this opportunity to start direct negotiations,” the ambassador stated. “Complaining instead of action – that is not leadership. Abbas says he wants sovereignty for the Palestinian people, but he has done everything to avoid it. The call for sovereignty has become a battle call, rather than an actual goal, a way to keep the conflict alive.”
Danon accused the international community of encouraging Abbas’s “rejectionism” by way of their UN voting patterns and by calling for pre-1967 lines to be the basis of negotiations.
“They apply preconditions that directly contradict previous agreements between the sides,” he said, pointing out that Israel and the PLO agreed in the past that future borders would be determined via negotiations. “Why should he negotiate for us, when you’re negotiating for him?”
Danon also praised Trump’s “sane approach” in trying a different way to make peace and not “accept[ing] out-of-date concepts… [and] a formula that has failed for over 70 years.”
“Even if you have criticism of the specifics of the plan should embrace its spirit, a new pragmatic approach to solving this conflict,” he stated.
“Abbas refuses to be pragmatic [and] refuses to negotiate… Only when he steps down can Israel and the Palestinians step forward. He will never be a partner for real peace,” Danon concluded.
Earlier, in remarks to the media, Danon accused Abbas of being “well-versed in the art of double-speak,” in that he will come to the UN and say he wants peace, while he “remains committed to incitement at home… encouraging Palestinian violence against Israelis.”
The ambassadors of the EU countries in the UNSC – Belgium, Estonia, Germany and France – came out against the Trump plan in their statement prior to the meeting.
They reiterated the EU’s commitment to transatlantic partnership and commended “efforts taken by the US towards resolving this conflict.”
However, their statement said the EU “remains committed to a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with land swaps,” allowing for a “contiguous, viable state of Palestine living side-by-side [with Israel] in peace, sovereignty and material recognition.”
“The US plan,” they added, “departs from these internationally recognized parameters.”
They also expressed concern about Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank, saying that doing so would breach international law and make a two-state solution unviable.
The US and Israel worked hard in recent days to ensure that the Palestinian resolution would not pass.
“In recent days, great pressure has been brought to bear on council members. Those efforts bore fruit,” an Israeli source told The Jerusalem Post after the Palestinians’ resolution was pulled from Tuesday’s agenda
The “Palestinians had realized they would not have much support, and they took it off the table,” the source added.
It is still unclear if the matter will be brought back to the Security Council or to the General Assembly.
Tovah Lazaroff and Omri Nahmias contributed to this report.