US President Donald Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ plan to resolve the Israeli- Palestinian conflict is nothing short of a “crime against Palestinians,” says Nabil Shaath, former Palestinian cabinet minister and chief negotiator.
Shaath spoke to RT after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas strongly rejected the much-hyped plan that Trump and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled late last month. Attending a UN Security Council meeting on the issue on Tuesday, he said that the plan is designed to “legitimize” what he called an Israeli “apartheid regime.”
The former Palestinian chief negotiator believes that the plan cannot even be called a “deal” at all.
“It is totally unacceptable. It is not a deal. A deal is something where each of two parties gets something and pays something. It is an attempt to liquidate the Palestinian problem.”
He argued that the proposed solution completely ignores the interests of Palestinians and discards them as a party to the negotiation process.
“We cannot reach anything with Mr. Trump’s ideas. Trump does not recognize us as people, as owners of the West bank and Gaza that Israel occupied in 1967. He awards our land to Israel, he awards our borders and security to Israel. It is not a peace process, it is an attempt to liquidate our rights. We have to reject.”
The plan that Trump repeatedly promised to produce ever since he took office in 2016 envisions the creation of an “independent” Palestinian state in the form of multiple enclaves within Israeli territory, with the responsibility for its security and borders resting with Tel Aviv. The capital of such a state should be located on the outskirts of East Jerusalem that would remain Israeli under the “deal.”
“There is nothing to offer for Mr. Abbas to accept,” Shaath said, blasting Trump’s proposal as a “crime against the Palestinian people.”
“[Abbas] spoke today in the UNSC and he was very clear: he wants peace based on two-state solution and direct negotiations with Israel, not through the US. He wants the Quartet back: the UN, the EU, Russia and the US. He will not submit to the US and make it the sole owner of the peace process since they are biased towards the Israelis. He emphasized his desire for peace as well as his rejection of Trump’s attempt to create false peace.”
Shaath believes that a solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict does exists, and no new “deals of the century” are needed. Instead, it should be based on the previous agreements and international resolutions, the senior Palestinian official said.
“There is a solution we are willing to accept. The two-state solution. We recognize the state of Israel in its pre-1967 borders; Israel recognizes the independent Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders. Eastern Jerusalem becomes the capital of Palestine and Western Jerusalem becomes the capital of Israel.”
He added that such a solution would involve the guaranteed freedom of worship for Muslims, Christians and Jews alike as well as a “peace agreement” between the two states as well as Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank.
Still, “that is not what Mr. trump wants,” Shaath believes. So far, Trump’s “deal of the century” has only infuriated Palestinians and led to an escalation of the conflict, since it was met with massive protests and a spike of violence that prompted Israel to threaten Palestinians with a “decisive action” against their hard-line organizations.