Palestinian rejection of Trump plan justified - GulfToday

Palestinian rejection of Trump plan justified

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Mahmoud Abbas. File

US President Donald Trump’s Mideast initiative, which heavily favours Israel on all the most contentious issues of the conflict and would allow it to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, is indisputably the prime reason behind the latest uptick in violence.

As senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat points out, those who introduce plans for annexation and apartheid and the legalisation of occupation and settlements are the ones who bear full responsibility for deepening the cycle of violence and extremism.

Decades of sacrifice and struggle by Palestinians cannot and should not be written off with ludicrous offers. But that’s precisely what Washington is offering the Palestinians.

It should be specially noted that the Trump plan would allow Israel to annex all its settlements as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.

Adding insult to injury, it would give the Palestinians limited autonomy in several chunks of territory with a capital on the outskirts of occupied Jerusalem, and that too only if they meet nearly impossible conditions.

As per Trump’s plan, Israel would maintain overriding security responsibility for the State of Palestine, including at the Palestinian state’s international border crossings.

It is hence not a surprise that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has eagerly embraced the plan, while the Palestinians have firmly rejected it.

One of the three Palestinians killed on Thursday was Tariq Badwan, a member of the security forces who was merely standing at the entrance of a police station in Jenin when he was shot by Israeli forces.

The international community has always accepted the view that Israeli settlements are illegal and main obstacle to resolving the conflict as they make the establishment of a contiguous, viable Palestinian state virtually impossible.

The International Criminal Court is also expected to investigate the settlements as part of a broader probe into violations of international law in the Palestinian territories.

What is essential is an end to the conflict on the basis of numerous resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements that have been made, with recognised borders on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.

This was made clear by UN chief António Guterres while addressing the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People last week.

Resolving the conflict is key to sustainable peace in the Middle East and the lack of any progress would only lead to further radicalisation across the region.

Guterres correctly cited the expansion and acceleration of illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, ongoing demolitions, seizures of Palestinian-owned property and evictions, as continuing cause for concern.

Moreover, the UN has repeatedly stated that occupied Jerusalem remains a final status issue and the city’s future can only be resolved on the basis of international law and through negotiations between the parties.

Michael Link, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine, has aptly referred to Trump’s plan as “a one and a half State solution”.

The world community should take a serious note of the human suffering that prevails throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including the dire socio-economic conditions facing the two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

The Trump plan essentially adopts the Israeli position on all the thorniest issues. If there has been one consistency on the part of Donald Trump, it has been his pro-Israeli bias. But the world community will not and should not accept such unilateral and reprehensible approach.