Fearing instability and violence, Arabs ask Abbas to ‘lower the volume’

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are among countries concerned that calls for demonstrations against Trump's peace plan are creating instability in the region.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, U.S., September 27, 2018. (photo credit: CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, U.S., September 27, 2018.
Palestinians are again planning mass protests against US President Donald Trump’s plan for Mideast peace – this time on Tuesday, when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to address the UN Security Council in New York.
Some Arab states, meanwhile, have “advised” Abbas to “turn down the volume” of his rhetorical attacks on the US and Israel, a senior PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post.
“Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have advised President to start calming things down,” the official said. “They are worried that the strong criticism and calls for demonstrations against the Trump plan would cause instability in the region. The president has assured them that he does not support violent protest or terrorism as a way of protesting the Trump plan.”
Palestinians in Ramallah said that some Arab heads of state are apparently worried that widespread protests against the US and Israel on the streets of Arab capitals would see demonstrators also turn against their presidents and monarchs.
Abbas’s visit to New York is aimed at rallying worldwide support for Palestinian opposition to the Trump plan, known as “Peace to Prosperity.”
The PA and the ruling Fatah faction, however, are also planning to turn the demonstrations into a show of support for Abbas.
Abbas has been facing growing criticism from Palestinians for failing to take “real measures” in response to the Trump deal. His critics have pointed out that despite his recurring threats, Abbas has not halted security coordination with Israel or renounced all signed agreements between the Palestinians and Israel.
Several factions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip urged Palestinians to take to the streets on Tuesday to express their “full support” for Abbas and opposition to the Trump plan, also referred to as the “Deal of the Century.”
Palestinians living in Lebanon and Syria have also been urged to hold mass protests in conjunction with Abbas’s address to the Security Council.
Representatives of various Palestinian factions who met in Ramallah on Monday repeated their strong opposition Trump’s “disastrous” plan.
Claiming that the plan was designed to “liquidate the Palestinian cause,” the faction leaders expressed appreciation of the stance of several Arab and international parties against the “Peace to Prosperity” blueprint.
Abbas’s adviser for diplomatic affairs, Majdi Khaldi, said the PA president’s “important speech” before the Security Council was aimed at mustering international support for [Palestinian] rejection of the Trump-[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu plan.
The PA Cabinet, which held its weekly meeting in Ramallah on Monday, voiced support for Abbas in his standoff with the Trump administration. The cabinet called on Palestinians to participate in widespread rallies on Tuesday to voice their support for Abbas during his speech at the Security Council and rejection of the Trump plan.
The PA Foreign Ministry said Abbas was going to the Security Council not only to express his rejection of the Trump plan, but also to “present his wise vision for achieving peace, which has won the backing of most of the international community.”
Abbas’s vision, the ministry said, envisages a multi-party international sponsorship of the peace process on the basis of international resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. The ministry expressed satisfaction with the large Arab and Islamic support of the Palestinian position regarding the Trump deal and said it was the result of a “successful diplomatic” offensive.
On the eve of Abbas’s address to the Security Council, the PLO Negotiation Affairs Department released a document denouncing Trump’s deal as “The Con of the Century.” The document claimed that the plan “outrageously dismisses the right of Palestine to exist as an independent, sovereign, and contagious State.” It said that “by sponsoring the legalization of Israeli illegal settlements and dictating that none will be dismantled, the plan simply represents the annexation of territory, rendering a free Palestine impossible. Under this plan, Israel would retain its overriding security control over vast areas of occupied Palestine, including its capital East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.”
The PLO document added that the Trump plan “suggests a fictional State of Palestine, whereby it substitutes territorial contiguity with “transportation contiguity” thus undermining the very viability of Palestinian statehood.” This “fictional” state, the document argued, “will be divided into a series of enclaves, scattered around like an archipelago to be connected by tunnels and bridges, allowing Israel to maintain security control over Palestinian terrestrial and maritime borders, airspace, and natural resources.”