by: Kate Norman
Wednesday, 12 February 2020 | Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has been saying no to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan to solve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict essentially since its release was announced—and he declared “a thousand times” no immediately after the “Deal of the Century” was released late last month. He took the same message before the United Nations Security Council yesterday, adding a few extra declarations of hope for peace for the sake of the diplomatic body.
“I came to all of you today to affirm the Palestinian position which rejects the American–Israeli deal,” Abbas proclaimed before the council.
President Trump’s peace plan allows for the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state with a capital in the outskirts of eastern Jerusalem, while Israel will apply sovereignty to the majority of the Jordan Valley and Israeli communities in the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. Abbas and his PA entourage have indulged in a policy critics call rejectionism, boycotting the US since President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017.
“It legalized what is illegal: settlement building and confiscation and annexation of Palestinian lands,” Abbas stressed before the international forum. “I affirm here, that it is necessary that this deal or any part of it not be considered an international reference for negotiations.”
This play came just a day after the PA pulled a resolution to bring before the council formally rejecting the peace plan at the last minute, most likely due to lack of sufficient support to put the resolution through with a majority vote.
“This deal carries within it dictates, reinforcement of the occupation, annexation by military force and anchoring of an apartheid system,” Abbas added, sprinkling in a few more anti-Zionist buzzwords.
Minutes after Abbas finished his diatribe, US ambassador to Israel Danny Danon was given the floor to respond—and used it to wallop the Palestinian leader, criticizing Abbas’s continuing policy of “rejectionism.”
“Complaining instead of action—that is not leadership,” Danon said. “Abbas says he wants sovereignty for the Palestinian people, but he has done everything to avoid it. The call for sovereignty has become a battle call, rather than an actual goal, a way to keep the conflict alive.”
The Israeli ambassador also criticized the international community for its staunch habit of standing with the Palestinians against multiple attempts to negotiate peace, including with the US-sponsored peace deal, insisting on so-called pre-1967 borders.
“They apply preconditions that directly contradict previous agreements between the sides,” Danon asserted, noting an agreement in the past between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to leave future borders up for negotiation. “Why should he negotiate for us, when you’re negotiating for him?”
Then Danon lowered the boom, asserting that no peace agreement will ever be reached under Abbas’s reign in Ramallah. “Abbas refuses to be pragmatic [and] refuses to negotiate…Only when he steps down can Israel and the Palestinians step forward,” the Israeli ambassador continued. “He will never be a partner for real peace.”
The American ambassador approached Abbas with a more placating tone, despite the whole meeting revolving around criticism of the American-made peace proposal.
“If you choose the path to peace,” US ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft told Abbas, “America and many other countries will—we will be there.”
She highlighted the UN’s monotone history of addressing the conflict by issuing hundreds of one-sided resolutions condemning the Jewish state, which after several decades has failed to establish peace.
“With this record of failure this spectacular, it would be folly to suggest that this time was well spent, and that what is needed now is more of the same,” she argued.
“President Abbas, I heard you, I heard you speak of hope, I heard your words about the importance of hope,” she added. “To keep hope alive, there must be willingness to compromise, to engage in good faith.”
The American ambassador also pointed out that the peace plan is a starting ground for negotiations—not the final outline, and can therefore be altered as needed.
The deal of the century, Craft said, “is an opening offer. It is the beginning of a conversation—not the end of one.”
Posted on February 12, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 12, 2020)
Photo Credit: FRANCE 24 English/YouTube/screenshot
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