Palestinian President says 'a thousand noes' to Trump's Middle East peace plan

28 January 2020, 19:54

Netanyahu and Trump were speaking at the White House
Netanyahu and Trump were speaking at the White House. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said "a thousand noes" to US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Middle East peace plan.

Mr Abbas stressed his commitment to ending the Israeli occupation and the idea of establishing a state with its capital in east Jerusalem.

"After the nonsense that we heard today, we say a thousand noes to the deal of the century," Mr Abbas said.

Mr Trump and Mr Netanyahu unveiled their "historic" Middle East peace plan while speaking at the White House on Tuesday.

The two world leaders called for the creation of a State of Palestine, with its capital in parts of east Jerusalem.

Mahmoud Abbas said "a thousand noes" to the deal
Mahmoud Abbas said "a thousand noes" to the deal. Picture: PA

Under the plan, the holy city would controversially remain Israel's undivided capital, while the US would move its embassy there.

The proposal would also see the area under Palestinian control more than double, but at the same time would recognise Israeli sovereignty over major territories in the deeply contentious West Bank.

Palestinians have accused the US leader of favouring Israel and insisted they will never forfeit their claim to Jerusalem.

Mr Netanyahu called it "the deal of the century" and "the opportunity of a century" on his social media. He also thanked Mr Trump "for everything [he has] done for the State of Israel" since entering the White House.

His Amerian counterpart called it a "win-win" opportunity for both Israel and Palestine.

The deal suggests a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, in order to provide more time for a comprehensive agreement to be negotiated.

Tuesday's move comes in the middle of the US President's impeachment trial and with the Israeli Prime Minister facing domestic corruption charges.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine would lead to peace and "could unlock the potential of the entire region."

"This is clearly a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort," he added.

"A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that leads to peaceful coexistence could unlock the potential of the entire region, and provide both sides with the opportunity for a brighter future.

"Only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent.

"We encourage them to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations."

The Foreign Office has also updated its travel advice for Israel. It now tells Britons to "avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings" amid calls for protests in the West Bank.

Palestinian protesters stamped on pictures of Trump and Netanyahu
Palestinian protesters stamped on pictures of Trump and Netanyahu. Picture: PA

Thousands of Palestinians protested in Gaza City ahead of the announcement, burning pictures of Mr Trump and Mr Netanyahu. They also held a banner reading "Palestine is not for sale."

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas previously said he planned to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the plan and invited officials of Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks Israel's destruction.

Mr Trump was pleased to acknowledge that he has done a lot to help Israel, but stressed he wanted the deal to be great for the Palestinians."

He called it a "historic opportunity" for Palestinians to achieve an independent state of their own.