Palestinan President Mahmoud Abbas rejects Trump peace plan

The Palestinian Authority leader questioned the advice the US president was receiving to formulate the controversial Middle East peace plan

Palestinan President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected Donald Trump’s peace proposal, saying the deal “annuls Palestinian rights”.

Appearing in front of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Mr Abbas said the deal “legitimised what is illegal” and reiterated the Palestinians’ ire at the one-sided ‘Deal of the Century’.

The deal, released in January, includes proposals to allow Israel to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the eventual creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state, over which Israeli security would have near total control.

Mr Abbas said the deal “cannot achieve peace and security because it cancelled international legitimacy…it cancels all the rights of the Palestinian people”.

Mr Abbas thanked members of the international community for standing with Palestinian people against the deal, citing statements from the EU, Russia, China and the UN as supporting the Palestinian view that any deal should include relevant UN resolutions.

“If this council’s resolutions are disregarded then who will we resort to?” he said.

He also thanked the Israeli people, who he said “took to the streets” to oppose the bill, and US politicians who criticised it.

In an act of theatre worthy of Mr Trump himself, Mr Abbas held up a petition he said was signed by 300 Israeli officers against the deal, and a map showing the proposed make-up of the Palestinian and Israeli states under Mr Trump’s deal.

He called the proposal for a Palestinian state like “Swiss cheese” and asked those gathered in New York who would accept such a map of statehood, adding it “strengthened the apartheid regime” the Palestinians thought they had got rid of years ago.

Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, architect of the plan, presented it to a closed session of the UN Security Council last week.

His plan hands all of Jerusalem inside the security barrier to Israel, including the Old City that hosts the third-holiest site in Islam. Mr Abbas angrily rejected the idea.

“Jerusalem is an occupied land, Who has the right to give this as a gift to one state or another?” he said.

Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, said what the plan “does differently is refusing to accept the same out-of-date concepts of previous plans”.

He accussed Mr Abbas of not being a genuine partner for peace, saying if he had really wanted a peaceful solution he would be in Washington or Jerusalem, not addressing the UN.

Mr Abbas also called into question the advice Mr Trump was receiving on the issue, saying the US president’s actions were very different from what was promised when the two men met in 2017.

He decried the US decision to close the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s Washington office and withdraw $840 million of aid to UNWRA.

“I don’t know who gave him this unacceptable advice. I know Mr Trump is not like that,” he said.

Mr Abbas reiterated a call he made in February 2018 for a UN Security Council-backed Middle East peace conference, saying he had faith this would pay dividends.

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