Arab League holds emergency meeting over Trump plan | Editor's Choice | Ammon News



Arab League holds emergency meeting over Trump plan


[2/1/2020 6:43:30 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Arab League is holding an emergency meeting in Egypt's capital, Cairo, to discuss US President Donald Trump's plan for the Middle East that was unveiled last week.

The meeting on Saturday was requested by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), who asked Arab nations to take a clear stance against Trump's so-called "deal of the century".

The plan presented on Tuesday was negotiated with Israel and had no input from Palestinians, who had cut off all ties with the Trump administration after its 2017 decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. It envisions the Israeli annexation of large swathes of the occupied West Bank, including illegal settlements and the Jordan Valley, giving Israel a permanent eastern border along the Jordan River.

"They told me Trump wants to send me the deal of the century to read, I said I would not," Abbas told the meeting of Arab League foreign ministers on Saturday.

"Trump asked that I speak to him over the phone, so I said 'no', and that he wants to send me a letter, so I refused to receive it."

'Clear declaration'
Abbas has said the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in East Jerusalem.

Trump's plan also proposes making Abu Dis, just outside Jerusalem, the capital of a future Palestinian state, which was also instantly rejected by Palestinians.

The Arab League's head, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, said on Wednesday that an initial study of the plan's political framework showed that it "ignored legitimate Palestinian rights in the territories".

He said the Palestinian response would be key in shaping a "collective Arab position" on the plan, which he noted was a "non-binding US vision".

Majdi al-Khaldi, a diplomatic adviser to Abbas, said the meeting in Cairo aims at issuing a "clear declaration" rejecting Trump's plan.

Al-Khaldi, who accompanies Abbas on his trips to world capitals, said the Palestinian leader would meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to discuss measures to "protect the Palestinian people's rights".

In a tacit sign of support for the US initiative, ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman attended the unveiling of the plan in Washington, whereTrump made the announcement alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Arab states that are close US allies, said they appreciated Trump's efforts and called for renewed negotiations without commenting on the plan's content.

Egypt urged in a statement Israelis and Palestinians to "carefully study" the plan. It said it favours a solution that restores all the "legitimate rights" of the Palestinian people through establishing an "independent and sovereign state on the occupied Palestinian territories".

Jordan warned against any Israeli "annexation of Palestinian lands" and reaffirmed its commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, which would include all the West Bank and Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem. Qatar said it welcomed efforts to broker "longstanding and just peace" but warned that was unattainable without concessions to the Palestinians.

Analysts said the "divided" reaction from Arab states to Trump's plan was no surprise, noting that the main reason for support - whether strong or subtle - was to guarantee Washington's backing against a common regional enemy, Iran.

"The US-Iran brief military confrontation in January has convinced some Gulf countries that Washington is their only protector," Ramzy Baroud, a Palestinian author and journalist, told Al Jazeera.

"Some Arabs have completely forsaken Palestine and are embracing Israel to fend against an imaginary Iranian threat," Baroud said.

Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, which traditionally championed Palestinian cause, have cosied up to Israel in recent years as they see Iran as a bigger regional threat.

"I think that what has been done is these people have adopted the approach that my enemy's enemy is my friend," Diana Buttu, analyst and former legal adviser to Palestinian peace negotiators, told Al Jazeera.

"And it shouldn't have to neutralise Iran, or deal with Iran … It would come at the expense of the Palestinians," she said.

*Agencies

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