Palestinians in Gaza City protest as tires burn ahead of the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump of his Mideast peace plan
Palestinian protesters in Gaza City
Photo: Reuters
Palestinians in Gaza City protest as tires burn ahead of the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump of his Mideast peace plan

Report: Palestinian leadership to boycott U.S. administration

Former Abbas aide brands Trump's peace initiative 'sad piece of political theater', warns that proposal will turn 'the Land of Palestine' into apartheid-era South Africa; meanwhile, thousands demonstrate in Palestinian cities

Reuters |
Published: 01.28.20 , 18:18
The Palestinian leadership is expected to announce several resolutions at its meeting on Tuesday, including a boycott of the United States government, reported Lebanese Al Mayadeen news agency. According to the report, the leadership will also call to escalate the so-called popular resistance following the release of the U.S. President Trump's Middle East peace plan.
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  • Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated against Trump's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan on Tuesday hours before its scheduled release at a ceremony in Washington.
    Palestinians in Gaza City protest as tires burn ahead of the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump of his Mideast peace plan Palestinians in Gaza City protest as tires burn ahead of the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump of his Mideast peace plan
    Palestinians in Gaza City protest as tires burn ahead of the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump of his Mideast peace plan
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Israeli troops meanwhile reinforced positions near a flashpoint site between the Palestinian city of Ramallah and the West Bank settlement of Beit El.
    While Israeli leaders have welcomed Trump's long-delayed plan, Palestinian leaders rejected it even before its official release. They say his administration is biased towards Israel.
    The Palestinians fear Trump's blueprint will dash their hopes for an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem by permitting Israel to annex large chunks of territory including blocs of Jewish settlements.
    Palestinian Ambassador to the Arab League Diab Al-Louh Palestinian Ambassador to the Arab League Diab Al-Louh
    Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Diab Al-Louh
    (Photo: AP)
    Diab Al-Louh, the Palestinians' ambassador to Egypt, said on Tuesday they had requested an urgent meeting of the Arab League Council at the ministerial level - which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would attend.
    In Gaza City on Tuesday, protesters waved Palestinian flags and held aloft posters of Abbas. "Trump is a fool, Palestine is not for sale!" an activist shouted through a loudspeaker.
    Palestinian protesters in Gaza CityPalestinian protesters in Gaza City
    Palestinian protesters in Gaza City
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Others chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" as they burned tires and posters of Trump. More protests were expected after Trump announces details of his plan later in the day.
    An Israeli military spokesman said troops had been sent to reinforce the West Bank's Jordan Valley - an area which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to partially annex.
    Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian mission to Britain, told Reuters in London that Trump's peace plan was merely "political theatre".
    Husam Zomlot Husam Zomlot
    Husam Zomlot
    (Photo: AP)
    "It is not a peace deal. It is the 'bantustan-ization' of the people of Palestine and the land of Palestine. We will be turned into bantustans," he said, referring to the nominally independent black enclaves in apartheid-era South Africa.
    "Jan. 28, 2020 will mark the official legal stamp of approval of the United States for Israel to implement a full-fledged apartheid system," he said.
    Israel vehemently rejects any comparison to the former South African regime.
    הבית הלבן פגישה בנימין נתניהו ו דונלנד טראמפ נשיא ארצות הבריתהבית הלבן פגישה בנימין נתניהו ו דונלנד טראמפ נשיא ארצות הברית
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump during a White House meeting on Monday
    (Photo: EPA)
    Trump will deliver joint remarks with Netanyahu at the White House later on Tuesday to outline his plan, the result of three years of work by his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
    He met with Netanyahu and Blue & White Chairman Benny Gantz ahead of the announcement. Both were briefed on its contents.
    Netanyahu said it was "the opportunity of a century and we're not going to pass it by." Gantz called it a "significant and historic milestone."
    בני גנץ ב בית הלבן ב פגישה עם נשיא ארצות הברית דונלד טראמפבני גנץ ב בית הלבן ב פגישה עם נשיא ארצות הברית דונלד טראמפ
    Blue & White Chairman Benny Gantz and U.S. President Donald Trump during a White House meeting on Monday
    (Photo: Elad Malka)
    A Netanyahu spokesman said he would fly to Moscow on Wednesday to brief Russian President Vladimir Putin on the proposals.
    But Israeli-Palestinian talks broke down in 2014, and it is far from clear that the Trump plan will resuscitate them.
    הפגנות בעזההפגנות בעזה
    Palestinian protesters in Gaza City
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Palestinian and Arab sources who were briefed on a draft of the plan fear that it will seek to bribe Palestinians into accepting Israeli occupation, in what could be a prelude to Israel annexing about 40% of the West Bank.
    Further obstacles include the continued expansion of Israeli settlements and the rise to power in Gaza of the Hamas, which is formally committed to Israel's destruction.
    Palestinian leaders say they were not invited to Washington, and that no plan can work without them. An Abbas spokesman urged any Arab or Muslim officials invited to the ceremony to boycott it.
    אבו מאזן בישיבת המועצה הלאומית הפלסטינית ברמאללהאבו מאזן בישיבת המועצה הלאומית הפלסטינית ברמאללה
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Addressing their fears, Trump said on Monday: "They probably won't want it initially...but I think in the end they will. It's very good for them. In fact, it's overly good to them."
    But on Monday Abbas said he would not agree to any deal that did not secure a two-state solution. That formula, the basis for many years of frustrated international peace efforts, envisages Israel co-existing with a Palestinian state.
    Palestinians have refused to deal with the Trump administration in protest at such pro-Israeli policies as its moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
    פלסטינים ערבים שריפה הפגנה עסקת המאה דונלד טראמפ בנימין נתניהו ארצות הברית ישראל הרשות הפלסטיניתפלסטינים ערבים שריפה הפגנה עסקת המאה דונלד טראמפ בנימין נתניהו ארצות הברית ישראל הרשות הפלסטינית
    Palestinians protest the Trump peace plan in the West Bank
    (Photo: AP)
    The Trump administration in November reversed decades of U.S. policy when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington no longer regarded the settlements on West Bank land as a breach of international law. Palestinians and most countries view the settlements as illegal, which Israel disputes.
    Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said both Trump and Netanyahu were looking to change the subject from their own domestic troubles.
    "The problem is it doesn't feel like this is the beginning of an important initiative," Alterman said.
    Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives last month and is on trial in the Senate on abuse of power charges.
    On Tuesday Netanyahu was formally indicted in court on corruption charges, after he withdrew his bid for parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

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