Europe refutes Trump's administration plan on Palestine

Europe refutes Trump's administration plan on Palestine

Eight European Union member states have warned that US President Donald Trump’s plan on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is yet to be unveiled, will not be successful if it fails to take into account internationally-agreed parameters for peace, namely a two-state solution along the pre-1967 boundaries.

The United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden – which are all member states to the UN Security Council (UNSC) - as well as Belgium, Germany and Italy released a joint statement on Tuesday, saying the so-called Middle East peace plan should support the Palestinian statehood and end the Israeli occupation.

The statement was published following the UNSC’s monthly Mideast meeting.

The EU countries reiterated their “strong continued commitment to the internationally agreed parameters for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on international law, relevant UN resolutions and previous agreements."

“The EU is truly convinced that the achievement of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem [al-Quds] as the capital of both States, that meets Israeli and Palestinian security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation and resolves all final status issues, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2334 and previous agreements, is the only viable and realistic way to end the conflict,” read the statement.

UNSC Resolution 2334, which was approved in December 2016, states that Israel’s establishment of “settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Israel occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds during the Six-Day War in 1967 and later annexed the city in a move not recognized by the international community.

Israel lays claim to the whole city, but the Palestinians view its eastern sector as the capital of their future sovereign state.

Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli “capital” last December and moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the ancient city in May, sparking global condemnations.

Speaking at Tuesday’s Security Council session, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that Washington’s plan, dubbed the “deal of the century,” has a lot both sides will like and things they won’t like.

She also claimed that the initiative takes advantage of new technology and recognizes the changing realities on the ground.

Israel has also remained under fire over settlements and crimes against Palestinians.

Meanwhile, UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov expressed concerns over “the weakening of international consensus and the absence of collective efforts to achieve an end to the [Israeli] occupation and the realization of a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

“At the end of 2018, we are nowhere closer to reviving efforts for a negotiated solution,” he told the UNSC meeting. “Without a political horizon, all our collective and individual efforts merely contribute to managing the conflict rather than resolving it.”

Palestinians have already rejected Trump’s plan, with Abbas calling it “the slap of the century.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mladenov condemned illegal Israeli settler units, saying Tel Aviv has taken “no steps” to end all settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian territories as Resolution 2334 requires.

Additionally, Kuwait’s UN Ambassdor Mansour Ayyad al-Otaibi complained about escalating Israeli crimes against Palestinians, including recent attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure. 

More than 230 Palestinian civilians have been killed and over 24,000 injured as a result of live fire used by Israeli security forces during the “March of Return” so far in 2018, he added.

“We must put an end to these crimes,” Otaibi said, underlining the need for protecting Palestinian civilians and warning of an Israeli plan to change the occupied lands' demographic and legal character. 

 Last month, leading Palestinian groups have pledged to reject the Trump administration’s “deal of the century” after reports emerged that the United States is soon to publish the plan purporting to end the Middle East conflict.   

While little is known about the plan, leaks have suggested that it regards Jerusalem al-Quds entirely as Israeli territory, whereas Palestinians view the eastern sector of the occupied city as the capital of their future state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday rejected the plan and decried what he called efforts to separate the West Bank from the Gaza Strip.

"The ‘deal of the century’ will not pass and the fate of the land of Palestine will be decided by the Palestinian people," Abbas said in a recorded speech aired on Palestine TV.

Abbas said he would only accept a deal that secures "the independence and the sovereignty of the Palestinian people on their land in the 1967 territories with East al-Quds as its capital."

His speech came as Israel's Channel 10 television reported that President Donald Trump's envoy Jason Greenblatt had said the US would soon release the "peace" plan.

In Gaza, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said the resistance movement would never allow the "deal" to be implemented. 

He said weekly protests held near an Israeli fence separating the occupied territories from Gaza would be held with the aim of thwarting the "deal of the century."

"We ask the Palestinian Authority to allow the 'Great March of Return' protests reach the West Bank and be held there," Abu Zuhri added.

The Hamas official also called on Palestinian Authority leaders to cut their contacts with the US and the occupiers.   

Abbas has described Trump’s plan as “the slap of the century" and boycotted the US administration since December 2017 when Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.

On Saturday, Abbas said Palestinians were in “one of the most dangerous stages” in their history since the “conspiracy” of the Balfour Declaration, a 1917 statement pledging British backing for a Jewish state in historic Palestine.

Palestinians will only accept a deal that establishes a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with a capital in East al-Quds, Abbas said, adding that "the occupation will end." 

“We will remain on our land and continue to act. We adhere to our principles. Our flag will continue to be raised on the walls of al-Quds," Abbas added.

The Palestinian president further underlined the need for preserving national unity and stressed that any attempt to separate the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip from the West Bank was doomed to failure.

“Our national unity is the most precious thing we have, and it is our strongest weapon to face the liquidation projects and conspiracies that are being waged against our national cause," he said.

Abbas also touched on the recent US halt to funding for the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), saying, "No one can take measures against the UNRWA or try to question the numbers of refugees, as a prelude to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.” 

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