Palestinians say peace deal presentation stems from 'Israeli political self interest'

Abbas warns U.S. and Israel from 'crossing red lines' in outline if published, a senior official close to the Palestinian president said he puts faith in Europe and China rather than Arab nations
Elior Levy|Updated:
Palestinian Authority officials claimed that the decision to present U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan stems from "internal Israeli political self-interests," said a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday.
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  • During a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence invited Netanyahu and Blue & White party leader Benny Gantz to Washington next week to present the details of the Trump administration's long-delayed "Deal of the Century" outline.
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    אבו מאזן בישיבת המועצה המרכזית של אש"ף ברמאללה
    אבו מאזן בישיבת המועצה המרכזית של אש"ף ברמאללה
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
    (Photo: Reuters)
    On Thursday, Abbas warned Israel and the U.S. not to cross "red lines," saying that the Palestinian government will continue to "refuse and resist any American claims of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital."
    "The Palestinian position supports ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories whose capital is East Jerusalem," said an official statement from the Palestinian President. "If the U.S. publishes the 'Deal of the Century', the authority will take steps to protect its basic rights."
    "It is obvious to us that the presentation of the peace deal is meant to help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his elections, we know when personal interests are at play," said the senior official.
    "We are in the middle of a process that did not start today," said the official.
    "First, they [The U.S.] declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then they move the embassy to the city, followed by American announcements supporting a legitimization of the West Bank settlements and lately we are witness to the administrations willingness for Israel to annex the Jordan Valley; the announcement today is just the next step."
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    בנימין נתניהו בפגישה עם מייק פנס
    בנימין נתניהו בפגישה עם מייק פנס
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during a visit at the American embassy in Jerusalem
    (Photo: GPO)
    The official clarified that the Palestinian stance on the matter remains as it has always been: a complete refusal of a one-sided American peace proposal, which Ramallah called unbalanced and vehemently pro-Israeli.
    The official went on to warn that the publication of the plan might destabilize the security balance in the West Bank.
    "There is no doubt the plan will have an effect on the Palestinian streets," said the official.
    "It could cause tension and lead to an escalation, there is a limit to the existing patience for one-sided moves."
    And yet, the official did not use radical terminologies such as Intifada or any other kind of violent reactions.
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    גנץ ומקרון
    גנץ ומקרון
    French President Emmanuel Macron and Blue & White party leader Benny Gantz during a Thursday meeting
    (Photo: AFP)
    The official revealed that the Palestinian leadership is hoping for support from European nations and China rather than the Arab states.
    "We feel isolated and alone," said the official. "Even if Jordan or Egypt refuse to publicly and blatantly come out against the plan, we have the backing of Europe and China behind us, together with other nations."
    The official estimated that it is still unlikely that Jordan will support that plan if a sizeable annexation of the border region of the Jordan Valley by Israel is included.
    In a joint statement made with Pence, Netanyahu said he was behind the invitation for Gantz to travel with him to Washington because he wanted to reach the widest possible consensus in the talks.
    First published: 22:29, 01.23.20
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