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Trump says he’ll release peace plan before Tuesday meeting with Netanyahu, Gantz

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US President Donald Trump is set to release his long-awaited “deal of the century” peace plan in the coming days, Trump announced on Thursday.

The announcement came after Trump invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival Benny Gantz to Washington, D.C. for talks.

The president said his administration will “probably” release the details of the plan prior to the meeting with the two Israeli leaders.

“It’s a great plan. It’s a plan that really would work,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on his way to a political event in Miami.

“I love doing deals,” Trump said, adding “they say peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the toughest – the toughest of any deal.”

When asked about the Palestinian reaction to the plan, Trump said he had “briefly” spoken with Palestinian officials, and they he expects them to “act negatively at first.”

“But it’s actually very positive for them [the Palestinians]. But they have a lot of incentive to do it,” he said.

Trump’s peace plan, some of which has already been promoted across the region by son-in-law Jared Kushner, is largely seen as being pro-Israeli.

Citing unnamed Israeli officials, Haaretz reported that the officials “said that the plan would promise the application of Israeli sovereignty to all existing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, in addition to annexing the Jordan Valley, which would become Israel’s eastern border.”

The officials also claimed that an immediate refusal of the plan by the Palestinians — who have boycotted US-led peace talks since December 2017 — “would legitimize unilateral annexation steps,” Haaretz reported.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the plan would recognize a “demilitarized Palestinian state,” demand the disarmament of Hamas, and and require the Palestinian leadership to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Despite the “take it or leave it” approach of the US towards the Palestinians, the latter doubled down on their rejection of Trump’s initiatives, and denied having spoken with the US administration about the deal.

“The Palestinian ]leadership has a clear and unwavering position, rejecting Trump’s decisions on Jerusalem and other issues as well as everything that has to do with the so-called deal of the century,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesperson, said on Friday.

Abu Rudeineh called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, adding “we warn Israel and the American administration against crossing the red lines.”

In an interview with AFP, Husam Zomlot, Head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK and former head of the PLO Mission to the US, criticized Trump’s plans to only meet with Israeli leaders in Washington, saying “this is confirmation of their policy from the beginning – it is all about and for Israel.”

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat took to Twitter on Friday to criticize Trump’s peace efforts, saying:

“Reminder to the International  Community: Israel is an Occupying Power of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders  ( East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Strip ). Any deal, attempt or dictation that ignores this fact, will be recorded in history as the Fraud of the century.”

Since he came into office, Trump has been touting his “deal of the century” as an unprecedented effort to achieve peace in the Middle East.

The plan was expected to be released several months ago, but has continuously been pushed back due to the ongoing Israeli elections. The third consecutive round of elections will be held on March 2.

Trump’s announcement comes just days after Gantz said he was “looking forward” to the release of the peace plan, saying “I hope that President Trump will hurry and release his plan.”

Gantz had previously rejected the idea, saying the publication of the plan ahead of the elections would be an “outright intervention” in Israeli democracy, and only serve to further Netanyahu’s political agenda.

According to Haaretz, after Trump’s announcement on Thursday, Gantz was still on the fence about whether he would be attending the talks in Washington next Tuesday, over concerns that the talks fall on the same day the Knesset is set to deliberate Netanyahu’s request for political immunity from prosecution over a series of corruption charges.

Haaretz quoted Gantz’s Blue and White party as saying “The White House just came to Netanyahu’s help. As of now, we have no intention of postponing the Knesset vote next week. If necessary we will convene without Gantz and Netanyahu.”

Senior PLO official Dr. Hanan Ashrawi also called out the timing of the meeting, calling it a “lethal diversionary tactic.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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9 Responses

  1. Talkback on January 24, 2020, 11:02 am

    “The officials also claimed that an immediate refusal of the plan by the Palestinians — who have boycotted US-led peace talks since December 2017 — “would legitimize unilateral annexation steps,””

    ROFL. Legitimize under which international law? The Nazi’s version of international law? Someone has to inform them that it is post 1945 and the acquisition of territory through war is inadmissable for a very good reason. In this case it would be a blatant violation against the territorial integrity of Palestine and Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem is allready legally null and void.

    Sec Res 465 (1980):
    “5. Determines that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;”
    https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/5AA254A1C8F8B1CB852560E50075D7D5

    • Misterioso on January 24, 2020, 3:39 pm

      @Talkback

      Well and truly stated!!

      Also:

      Security Council Resolution 446 (22 March 1979) “[Affirms] once more that the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 is applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem,
      “1. Determines that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;..”

      Israel’s 1980 annexation of East Jerusalem was rejected by the UN Security Council in Resolution 476 (June 30, 1980): “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the Occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

      In accordance with the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, binding on ALL UN members and ratified by “Israel,” and further underscoring the illegality of the settlements, Part 2, Article 8, section B, paragraph viii of the Rome Statute of the International Court (1998) defines “the transfer directly or indirectly by the Occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies ” as a War Crime, indictable by the International Criminal Court.

      On 24 February 2004, the U.S. State Department reaffirmed its earlier position in a report titled Israel and the Occupied Territories, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: “Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights after the 1967 War…. The international community does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over any part of the occupied territories.”

      In its 2004 ruling, the International Court of Justice unanimously ruled that “No territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal.” The World Court denoted this principle a “corollary” of the U.N. Charter and as such “customary international law” and a “customary rule” binding on all member States of the United Nations.

      UN Security Council Resolution 2334, December 23, 2016: “Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

      “Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,

      “Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,….”

      “1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;…”

      For the record, there is no special provision in international law that enables the entity referred to as “Israel” to violate it with impunity.

  2. Mooser on January 24, 2020, 11:21 am

    ” Trump invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival Benny Gantz to Washington, D.C. for talks.”

    Some political rivals. If these two ‘political rivals’ are close enough to hammer out the momentous “peace plan” together, why bother with a third election, which would eliminate one-half of this dynamic team?

  3. gingershot on January 25, 2020, 1:05 pm

    America radicalized by successfully (thus far) stopping the Netanyahu-Neocon War on Iran is an America that has been automatically already radicalized to the whole Kahanist agenda, whether it knows it yet or not, will soon be radicalized to this Netanyahu-Neocon annexation of Palestine

    • gingershot on January 25, 2020, 1:29 pm

      Pro-Kahanism means fulfilling the 2 criteria

      1- Pro-war on Iran – aggressive war
      2- Pro-Apartheid/Pro-Israeli domination (Anti-1P1V1S) – apartheid a crime against humanity

      Being a card carrying Kahanist by being both ‘pro-war on Iran/pro Apartheid’ is no longer consequence-free, as the pro-Kahanist acts above are crimes against humanity

  4. James Canning on January 25, 2020, 6:24 pm

    The illegal Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank will remain illegal, even if Trump very stupidly encourages Israel to “annex” portions of the occupied West Bank.

  5. Boomer on January 26, 2020, 7:22 am

    At last, our leader will announce a final solution to the Palestinian problem.

  6. Mooser on January 27, 2020, 1:29 pm

    Maybe placards, signs and peaceful demonstrations combined with a clever publicity campaign will help?

    “If we don’t [have their support], life goes on” — Trump admits he hasn’t even spoken to Palestinians about his Middle East peace plan”

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