Mahmoud Abbas says he will ‘never accept’ Trump’s divisive plans for Palestine

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Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to cut security ties with both Israel and the US in a speech at an Arab League meeting in Egypt’s capital which denounced the US plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Donald Trump’s plan would grant the Palestinians limited self-rule in parts of the occupied West Bank, while allowing Israel to annex all its illegal settlements there and keep nearly all of east Jerusalem.

The summit of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo was requested by the Palestinians, who responded angrily to the US proposal.

Abbas said he told Israel and the US that “there will be no relations with them, including the security ties” following the deal that Palestinians say heavily favours Israel.

There was no immediate comment from US or Israeli officials.

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The Palestinian leader said he would refuse to take Trump’s phone calls and messages “because I know that he would use that to say he consulted us”.

“I will never accept this solution,” he said. “I will not have it recorded in my history that I have sold Jerusalem.”

He said the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in east Jerusalem.

Abbas said the Palestinians would not accept the US as sole mediator in any negotiations with Israel.

He said they would go to the United Nations Security Council and other world and regional organisations to “explain our position”.

Israel Palestinians
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks after a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

The Arab League’s head, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, said the proposal revealed a “sharp turn” in the long-standing US foreign policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This turn does not help achieve peace and a just solution,” he declared.

Aboul-Gheit said the Palestinians reject the proposal and called for the two sides to negotiate to reach a “satisfactory solution for both of them”.

Trump unveiled the proposal in Washington on 28 January. It would allow Israel to annex all its West Bank settlements – which the Palestinians and most of the international community view as illegal – as well as the Jordan Valley, which accounts for roughly a quarter of the West Bank.

In return, the Palestinians would be granted statehood in Gaza, scattered chunks of the West Bank and some neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Jerusalem, all linked together by a new network of roads, bridges and tunnels.

Israel would control the state’s borders and airspace and maintain overall security authority.

Critics of the proposals say this would rob Palestinian statehood of any meaning.

The plan would abolish the right of return for Palestinian refugees displaced by the 1948 war and their descendants, a key Palestinian demand.

The entire agreement would be contingent on Gaza’s Hamas rulers and other armed groups disarming, something they have always adamantly rejected.

Mideast Jordan
Jordanian police stand guard during a protest in Amman against Donald Trump’s Middle East plans (Raad Adayleh/AP)

Ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman attended the unveiling in Washington on Tuesday, in a tacit sign of support for the US initiative.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Arab states that are close US allies, said they appreciated Trump’s efforts and called for renewed negotiations without commenting on the plan’s content.

Jordan, meanwhile, warned against any Israeli “annexation of Palestinian lands” and reaffirmed its commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, which would include all the West Bank and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel.

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