Palestinians angrily reject Trump Mideast peace plan

RAMALLAH (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “a thousand no’s” to the Mideast peace plan announced on Tuesday by United States (US) President Donald Trump, which strongly favours Israel.

The Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in east Jerusalem, Abbas said at a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where the Western-backed Palestinian Authority is headquartered.

“After the nonsense that we heard today we say a thousand no’s to the Deal of The Century,” he said.

The plan would create a Palestinian state in parts of the West Bank, but would allow Israel to annex its settlements in the occupied territory. The plan would allow the Palestinians to establish a capital on the outskirts of east Jerusalem but would leave most of the city under Israeli control.

“We will not kneel and we will not surrender,” Abbas said, adding that the Palestinians would resist the plan through “peaceful, popular means”. The militant group Hamas rejected the “conspiracies” announced by the US and Israel and said “all options are open” in responding to the Trump administration’s plan.

Palestinians angrily reject Trump Mideast peace plan in Gaza City. PHOTO: AP

“We are certain that our Palestinian people will not let these conspiracies pass. So, all options are open. The (Israeli) occupation and the US administration will bear the responsibility for what they did,” senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said as he participated in one of several protests that broke out across the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Protesters burnt tyres and pictures of President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Abbas held an emergency meeting with other Palestinian factions, including Hamas, to discuss a unified response to the plan. Abbas had rejected the deal before it was announced saying the US was hopelessly biased toward Israel.

Late on Tuesday, Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli forces on the outskirts of Ramallah, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El.

European Union (EU) Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said Trump’s initiative “provides an occasion to re-launch the urgently needed efforts towards a negotiated and viable solution” to the conflict.He said the EU would “study and assess the proposals put forward”. He reiterated the bloc’s commitment to a “negotiated and viable two-state solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis, respecting all relevant United Nations (UN) resolutions and internationally agreed parameters.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the UN supports two states living in peace and security within recognised borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, according to his spokesman. “The position of the UN on the two-state solution has been defined, throughout the years, by relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions by which the Secretariat is bound,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Those resolutions call all Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal and call for a solution based on borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, with agreed land swaps.